I have a million things I need to be doing right now, including working out, studying for tonight's test, writing a paper or two, and cleaning, but I just had an experience that I felt I simply must share. Today, as many of you know, is Ash Wednesday. For Christians around the world, today marks the beginning of Lent, and an opportunity to renew our relationship with God, and today, with ashes on our foreheads, we take this opportunity for grace and repentance. In the middle of midterm week, as I anxiously await spring break, I knew that it was important that I make it to Ash Wednesday Mass, not just because the church tells us to, but because it is important to take this time to step back from things like school and work to cherish our faith, what truly gets me through the stresses of college. So, I found an early mass, and went. As I went through the day, taking time off of work to complete schoolwork and studying, I had several mental lists going in my head, trying to figure out how I could fit everything I needed to into my busy day. Finally, as I finished classes, I walked to my car and as I backed out, I, of course, got stuck! For those of you reading in Ithaca and other parts of upstate and Northern New York, you can understand my frustration with the massive amounts of snow in parking lots! Anyway, as I was alone, I tried rocking my car back and forth to get out, and after several minutes of failure, a student who was walking by noticed my distress, and came to the front of my car and motioned for me to reverse as he pushed. We tried several times and when that did not work, he stuck around to see if we could kick some of the snow out from under the car (because we had no shovel). Soon after, another student walked over and tried to help. He then offered to get a shovel and ran all the way to his dorm to get a shovel. The first student finally left when I suggested calling a tow truck to pull my car out, and I continued to try on my own in hopes of a miracle. After a few more minutes, the second student came back with a shovel and immediately began shoveling my car out. A few minutes later, the first student returned, saying "I don't have anything better to do, and I feel really bad that you are still stuck here." So with a few more pushes, and some excellent shovelry (get it, like chivalry), my car was out! I couldn't thank them enough for helping me. And on top of their help, they were happy to do it! As I drove away, I watched these two strangers walk back to their dorms, and couldn't be more thankful. My faith tells me that these two young men were sent by God to help me.
Today, for some, is just another day. For me, I celebrated a Holy Day, but did not take much time to really think about it in that way until these two young men came along and truly showed me the meaning of almsgiving. I am so thankful for these two students, and wish that I had asked them for their names so that I could thank them again. I thought as I drove back home about how truly good people can be, and that "we are all but dust and will return to dust..."
I wasn't sure what I wanted to "give up" for Lent this year, and I don't think that I will give anything up, but I now have an idea about what I would like to DO and work on this Lenten season. I hope that everyone is able to gain something from this post, and for those of you celebrating Lent this season, I hope that you will all consider this while you do...
Thanks again to the people who helped me today!