Show Me Your Soul, Children

This story takes place on April Fools night, 2008.

11:11pm – I’m sitting at my desk, trying to focus on a Spanish reading assignment. I’m absorbing it better than usual, but quickly my mind wanders…it started raining a couple minutes ago. Pretty hard. Oh, it’s April. The wind whistles as it rushes past the outcroppings of West’s many dormers and peaks. My mind begins its frequent journey to the depths of introspection.
A couple of hours ago I returned from a class called Theories of International Law. Hm. It’s not that I don’t appreciate studying political philosophers – no that’s not the case at all. After all, I chose to study political science because it’s important to me. It comes from the deep-seated desire in me to understand the workings of the world around me, so that I can hope to offer that world something from an enlightened perspective. However, at this moment my consciousness has a more compelling purpose than to ponder Spanish or Hobbes.
11:13pm – My attention returns again to the scene outside my window. What about THIS world right here, right now? What about THIS world, the one blissfully enjoying its cleansing shower while the world of men sits inside and avoids it? My mind grasps, embraces, and explores this new idea – the world of the present, the world that contains joy, freedom, purpose, and life.
11:14pm – My task shortly becomes clear. Spanish must wait. Who knows how long. Hell, my heart has always told me that if I really want to learn this language I should just go to a damn Spanish-speaking country and learn the real way. Whose idea was it to put kids in a classroom when there are millions of humans walking around in the real world from whom we could be learning many different forms of communication?
11:15pm – I text message the one guy I trust to understand what I must do, hoping he feels the call as well: “Dude do you want to run around in the rain? Maybe try to throw a disc? Right now!” The immediate response: “Done – meet you at West.” Notice the absence of anything like “Hmmm let me think, I have a lot of work to do…”. We’re in college, of course there’s work to be done. But he understood clearly that Chemistry was not worth a moment’s hesitation in this moment – we had too great an opportunity.

11:17pm – Having donned old sneakers, I hurtle down the stairs and out the door; a moment later Austin comes careening around the corner of the building in a teeshirt, shorts, and bare feet, his frisbee preceding him.

My hope is that you can imagine what happens next.

11:30pm – I beckon to Austin to come check out a huge patch of mud in the grass. Yes, of course, ten seconds and a swift movement on my part later, and he’s sitting on his butt in a pile of mud in the middle of the academic quad, lightning-lit raindrops buffeting his face.

If that last image sounds miserable to you, please scroll to the top of the page and start over. We’re not giving up on you.

12:05am – I trudge back inside to meet the amused glances of late-night studiers. One hallmate, also a teammate of mine, exclaims, laughs, and then frowns skeptically at my explanation as he walks away.

Tufts, I ask you now – Are you free spirited enough to have joined me outside in the rain? Would you join me if I asked you tomorrow night? Would you say yes if it was a little warmer, or if you had a little less homework, or if it wasn’t quite so late? Yeah? Ah, nevermind. You missed the point. On the other hand, if my words inspire you, then think about the present and how you can best express who you want to be. Consider what is most important to you. Instead of spending your time waiting for anything, use your days in honor of those things that matter to you. Don’t let habits or norms hold you back, don’t save yourself for the future, and don’t hesitate.

“We should examine ourselves and learn what is the affection and purpose of the heart, for in this way only can we learn what we honestly are.” – Mary Baker Eddy

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Author: adriandahlin

Graduate Student at NYU's Center for Urban Science and Progress

1 thought on “Show Me Your Soul, Children”

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