I want to share with all of you something that happened to a precious college friend of mine who attends Clemson University. Her name is Peyton Browder. This was a tough life lesson she learned a little over a week ago. It was a wake up call for me as well. I think it’s something we all need to be reminded of.
With Peyton’s permission, I’d like to share her story:
Today I got a Clemson obituary email for a girl whose name sounded too familiar. She was a girl in my math class; except she wasn't just any girl in my math class, we were partners.
Today marks the starting point for the last SIX weeks of my freshman year and this is one of my biggest regrets: How many times do we as students sit in a class room full of students for 90-120 days and at the end of the semester barely even know the name of the person sitting right next to us. We don't talk to each other for the sake of avoiding being awkward. We just sit in our desks before class texting, tweeting, continually refreshing social media feeds - trying to avoid eye contact.
If anything it's a, "Hey how's your day been so far?”
“Good, but I'm tired.”
“Yeah same, I don't want to be here."
Because of this way of living that our generation has become so accustomed and use to, her name is the only thing I will ever know about her...and the fact that she was really good at Calculus. And the sad thing is, the only reason I knew her name was because I had to write it on our in-class group assignment papers every Tuesday and Thursday. With that being said, I have six weeks of my freshman year left, and three more years of my college career. I don't want to continue to live so passively, avoiding awkward small talk. I want to know people...not just their name.”
When I checked on Peyton and asked her if she was okay, her response back was, “Yeah, it’s just sad and makes me mad at myself. I feel like I’ve let my whole freshman year slip through my fingers because of wanting to stay in my comfort zone. But life goes on. I found out that she apparently was sick all year, but you would have never guessed it just by looking at her. She looked healthy.”
Her words caused me to feel uneasy because I understood exactly what she was saying. I was right there with her. How much time have I wasted because I was too consumed with my own life? How many hurting people have crossed my path, sat beside me, and even engaged me in conversation yet I was too busy to really listen; too busy to get to know them?
I know this deep regret that she feels will be one of those defining moments in her life. She will allow God to change her heart, to become better – more useable. From this experience God will develop a more compassionate, caring young woman who will be more attentive to His prompting to love and care for others. The good thing about learning lessons the hard way is that we usually learn them well.
I believe the lesson was not only for Peyton, but for me as well. Jesus told His disciples that the world would know that they were His by the way they loved each other (John 13:5). The same applies to us. I want the world to know Who I belong to so I’m going to join Peyton by getting to know people God puts in my path…not just their names.
Have a great week!
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