I was hot. I was late. I was lost.
Ok, I wasn’t exactly lost, but I had no idea where I was on the map of campus, and I could not figure out which of the many buildings surrounding me was the one I was looking for. The map was confusing and I didn’t realize there was an app. I might still be wandering around campus if a kind student hadn’t come by and pointed me in the right direction.
We’ve all lost our way, found ourselves overwhelmed and confused in a new situation, and been saved by the compassion of a random stranger. I wasn’t lost on Penn State’s campus (this time), but I was on the University of Maryland campus participating in a conference of campus ministers. It is good for those of us who work with university students to regularly spend a week on another campus; stay in dingy residence halls, share a bathroom with relative strangers, eat dining hall food, and try and try to find our way to buildings we’ve never seen before. It reminds me just how much our first-year students are dealing with. It reminds me how hard it is to deal with so much change and challenge all at once. It reminds me how terribly important a little kindness and compassion can be.
If you are new to campus, take heart! Everyone has been where you are, and you will learn your way around (both literally and figuratively). Take a risk and reach out to ask for help. Chances are, the person you ask for help has faced similar struggles, too.
If you are not new to campus, look around! These first weeks of the semester are filled with opportunities to reach out in kindness to someone who needs a little help. Actually, all of life is filled with opportunities to reach out in kindness to someone who needs a little help. See the needs around you, and take a moment to offer the help you can. Living compassion won’t just help one lost person. . . it will transform the world.
Peace to you as this semester gets underway!
Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31
Some days are overwhelming.
Sometimes I am not sure which way to go.
Walk with me. Guide me. Give me strength.
Help me to rely on your presence and your love in the face of whatever comes.
Some days I see people in need around me.
Sometimes I am not sure I want to help.
Move me to compassion. Move me to action.
Help me to see each person I encounter as your beloved child.