A couple weeks ago education week was at BYU, I had been working in my studio one afternoon and after was waiting for a ride underneath a tree. A middle-aged woman was also under the tree, she'd just come from a class and was anew with campus giddiness and the opportunity to bestow some wise advice on an unassuming student like myself. She nearly skipped the small talk entirely and cut to the chase. What was I studying, when would I graduate, what will I do. All questions I've asked myself several times. Not wanting to explain any life crises at length with this woman I simply said that I was taking a couple of classes, and half-jokingly said that perhaps I was just stalling, postponing my entrance into the real world and would stick around for another semester.

She seemed unsatisfied and unamused with my response and told me that I had better get out into the world to share the things I've learned. She said that the real learning started after school and that people needed me, that I would have to go by faith. I nodded and pulled my sunglasses over my eyes. Of course. Of course. But I was skeptical, maybe even a little annoyed. I didn't really want unsolicited advice from a white-haired, khaki panted, pastel woman, well-meaning as she was.

I found that in the following days however, her words came back to me. I am stubborn, and she was in so many ways right.

Which I suppose leads me to my second and connecting point. I just finished reading Chris Nielsen's blog and watched the videos about the protests in Colorado. To be honest, I felt scared, frightened really, sad, powerless and again, reminded that I've got to do something. Something? I've been thinking a lot about hard things. How I want to do them. I've been in the process of applying for Teach for America. It's the only thing I can think of right now to give back, to make a difference, to not be selfish, to not waste my money on books and clothes. But what do I do in the meantime? I know I am writing in the moment, and that makes me sound dramatic, and maybe even juvenille and naive, but I can't help feeling this overwhelming sense of responsibility, to whom? humanity. To all those people who's lives aren't filled with goodness like mine. Is it enough to go to school, or to graduate school, or go to church on Sunday, or read your scriptures everyday. I'm feeling like it's not.

I sometimes feel badly because I feel like often protesting or dissension is not the way I function best to make change. I know that a lot of my friends are effective in that way, and do make a difference, but I feel like I am still struggling to know in what way I should hold myself responsible. I want to do hard things.


shelly said...

Can we have a conversation about this when I come up? I have thoughts...remind me that I do...I sometimes forget:)

Thaddeus said...

I agree with you that protesting is not the best way to effect change. It raises a contentious atmosphere, and further divides the people on each side. I'm sure it has its place in dire situations, but it isn't the cure-all to society's problems.

When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. There are many other ways to bring people to understand each other. The woman was right: we need your creative ideas and your unique talents.

ashmae said...

i actually do think that in some instances protesting is necessary, or some form of drastic dissension, and I admire people who are able to stand up for what they believe in that way, I've been part of several protests, and I probably will again, but i do agree that it isn't the cure all to societies problems and that we need to figure out more ways to try and change things.

Heather said...

I know that you're looking for something bigger than what I'm going to say, but just by being yourself and interacting with the people who come across you in your life can make a difference, even if you know it or not. You're amazing! You do great things already.

Kate said...

Hello there!
I read your comment on AshSan's blog. I think we are Facebook friends, but we should have been real friends because you are wonderful.
"I feel like I am still struggling to know in what way I should hold myself responsible. I want to do hard things." Ditto.