By: Joseph J. Mazzella
It was an afternoon in August. I was just short of turning eighteen. I stood in front of a six story high, red brick building. It was to be my new home for the next several years. It was my first day of college and I was a bit scared and a bit excited at the same time. I had two suitcases and a duffel bag with me. In them were packed all of my clothes, towels, sheets, alarm clock and everything else I thought I would need. I carried them up the five flights of stairs to my dorm room and then tossed them on my bed. I looked around the room and wondered what life had in store for me.
It was another afternoon in August. I was just short of turning forty two. My daughter was eighteen and we were standing in front of the same building at the same college that I had gone to all of those years before. I smiled as I helped her carry her things up to her room but I also noticed that we were making more than one trip. All of the students not just my daughter seemed to have so much more stuff than I did all those years ago. Yet, it didn’t seem to make things any better for them. In fact, they looked more stressed than I remembered being on my first day there. As I threw down another box of my daughter’s stuff I wondered what life had in store for her and prayed it would be just what she needed.
Last night I had a dream that I have had many times before. I was back in that same dorm room with my belongings piled on my bed searching for my course book and wondering what classes I would take. I often wondered what this dream meant but when I woke up this morning it became crystal clear to me. We are sometimes teachers in this life, but we are always students in it. We are here taking the most important class ever, “Learning to Love 101.” We are here to learn to love God. We are here to learn to love ourselves. We are here to learn to love everyone as ourselves. And it takes a lifetime. The stuff we carry with us through this life doesn’t matter at all either. It is the stuff we carry inside of us when we leave this life that counts.
Be the best student you can be then. Be the best teacher you can be. Learn to live! Learn to love! Graduate this life with honors and take your place in God’s loving arms in the next.