All of us packed up our lives over the past week with different mindsets. Some who packed were full of excitement and anticipation as they thought of the friends and new adventures the year would hold. Some packed with sullen hearts, thinking about the pain and heartbroken memories that were waiting for them when they stepped on campus.
We have around 3,600 students on campus today. That means we have 3,600 different stories on campus. Combined, we have over 309,600 days of summer. Every individual experienced his or her own unique summer. Over the past few months new ideas were introduced, beliefs were broken, ideas were implemented, dreams were discovered, and inspiration was instituted.
Three hundred thousand six hundred days full of distinctly different struggles, people, passions, and circumstances.
That is a lot of separate realities. As we all walk back onto campus and enter the dorms and settle into our schedules, it is easy to overlook others’ stories. It is easy to be so overwhelmed with our own miseries or joys that we become rash in how we respond to people’s behavior. We do not stop to consider the reason behind their meticulous movements.
When we see how someone looks or how someone acts, we label them and put them in categories, which are more than likely not suitable for that person. Soren Kierkegaard said it most beautifully — “Once you label me, you negate me.”
People’s experiences, people’s pasts, and people’s scars are integrated together to create the individual you see before you. Woven together, these experiences create an unique soul, full of wonder and withered ends, glamour and grime, triumph and terror – – which should not be labeled.
Joy comes through acceptance of this truth and embracing people for who they are. Ultimately, Jesus’ death reveals more about His character than it does about us. He loved us so much, that He accepted where we were at and died to save us. He was enough to redeem us. Refusing to accept others diminishes His acceptance of us at the cross.
He was enough. That means you are enough and they are enough. Be open to discovering the depths of someone’s heart and soul today. Be open to who they are, what their reality is, what their past has been, and what their future may hold.