“The greatest lesson you can learn is to love and be loved in return” – Eden Ahbez
I originally intended to include a Winston column this week. Like many of you, I woke up Wednesday morning, walked to breakfast at Rastall, saw the emergency vehicles, and didn’t think much of them. We went to class that morning—some of us relishing being back on campus, some of us could’ve used an extra few days of spring break, and some of us could’ve been on spring break forever.
But there we were and when noon struck, we moseyed on over to eat lunch, join our friends, or attend our respective meetings. Amidst the whirlwind of excitement that spring break brought many of us, we were stopped in our tracks at noon and faced with a tragedy that no one ever wants to have happen but all too often it occurs.
Emily Spiegel passed away. The college concluded that she had taken her own life, and across campus, the Colorado College community felt the devastating effects.
During trying times—whether it’s my own personal struggles, a loss of a member of a community, or one of my friends in pain, I repeat the Moulin Rouge quote: “The greatest lesson you can learn is to love and be loved in return.”
It’s a mantra for me. And as a soon-to-be declaring English Major, it’s odd because I often find that these moments of distress trigger a handicap on my ability to articulate myself. It feels terrible. I’ve committed myself towards being articulate and yet when it seems most important it all slips through the cracks and I’m left feeling voiceless. But this is the quote I reach for, repeat, and carry with me. It may be the words that I cannot express otherwise, perhaps it is a shield to protect others and myself, and maybe it is a combination.
Whatever it may be, it still sings true for me.
Sadness can be suffocating at times; it leaves us weak to the point that it feels impossible to move against the jarring storm in our hearts. And where do we go? We try friends, family, religion, spirituality, and counseling. But because the hurt is so internal, talking with others sometimes seems to partially alleviate the suffering.
Sometimes we are left speechless. And there in the amplified silence we dwell, turning matters over in our minds. It can be an exhausting process. But we have a covenant with each other and ourselves. That is, to be here now. And that may sound overly simplistic or perhaps it echoes Ram Dass’ seminal book on spirituality, but as Mother Teresa once said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love”.
After leaving Shove Chapel yesterday, I began to see these small things with great love as the Colorado College community gathered to comfort one another and mourn together. As we walk through the next days, weeks, months, and years, let’s be conscious of our place, let’s hold one another and give one another smiles, and most importantly, let’s honor our humanity by doing small things with great love.