Changing the World One Step at a Time

I think the beauty in any good story is the struggle to articulate the memory into adequate words. For a change of pace in my column, I wanted to include a recent event that happened to me and sit with it.

On Monday night, my mom and I agreed on getting some takeout for the night, just a simple dinner to end a busy day. I’m getting in my car to go drive and I notice it’s snowing.

A little relevant back-story – the first snow of the year is completely nostalgic for me; it puts me into a reflective mood.

Giddy as ever – and those of you who know me personally know I’m already an excited person so imagine me as “giddy” –  I arrived at Firebirds in the mall with a giant smile on my face and a wet jacket. I had a lovely conversation with a girl I know and told her all about how beautiful the first snow of the year was to me. Finally after my bill was paid and a hug goodbye, I walked back to my car.

I am the type of person to do weird spontaneous things, so what you will hear next should not surprise you. I had the impulse to put the takeout into my car and spin around with my eyes closed in the parking lot of the Millcreek Mall.

So, as habit would have it, I followed my impulse and started to spin. Not 30 seconds after I began my impulse spin, an older woman maybe in her late 60s walked up to me and asked if she could spin with me.

I don’t know why, but I didn’t take the question as oddly as I should have, but then again I did reason with myself it would be a good idea to spin. So this kind older woman and myself started to twirl in the snowy parking lot of the Millcreek mall together.

For no reason at all but our own happiness, we were able to share in that profound moment together. After our 30 seconds of twirling or maybe even interpretative snow dancing, she said, “Thank you and goodnight.”

Simple as that.

For me, I needed that little old lady to remind me to keep twirling. She taught me the most profound messages from her willingness to join in my own celebrations, lessons that I’m going to be unpacking for time to come. Her simple “yes” to follow her heart in joining an awkward 20-year-old boy in a sweatshirt and gym shorts in spinning in the snow is a lesson we should all take.

Some of us have a difficult making the first step forward and starting to spin in the snow, but I think more of us have more of a problem in being the first one to follow that awkward person spinning in the parking lot even though we want to.

It’s risky to be the first one to say “Actually, I want to do that, too. I have the confidence to join in and invite others in as well.” We all need to be more like that woman, full of life and full of the willingness to join in and create community.

In the spirit of the first snow of the season for myself and for everyone here at Gannon University, let’s all go out of our way to celebrate the little things this week.

Dance in A.J.’s Way to a good song on WERG, give someone you love the biggest awkward hug you know they deserve or treat someone out to dinner. Be the love and the person you want to see in the world. God bless.

 

JARED SCHAAF

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