I recently saw a meme on Facebook that said something like, “Me when I wake up at 6 a.m.: I can’t wait to go to bed tonight.” As a college student, I naturally laughed at this because it rings true. I have definitely thought this multiple times when my alarm goes off in the morning.
However, I think that this meme highlights a much larger issue in today’s culture, which is a message sent by the majority of social media: live for the pleasure of the future.
Of course, stated in that way, it’s obvious that to live by such a philosophy would be a mistake. However, it’s much more subtle when we only see bits and pieces at a time. We are slowly convinced that there is always something better to come, something more to be striving for that will make us happy. We’re slowly coerced by the pleasure we get from imagining the future, and we don’t live in the present.
Now, this isn’t a reprimand that you need to get more sleep. The Lord knows we all do, and I’m still working on that every day. Someday I’ll figure out how to balance everything correctly.
The point is that no matter whether you got sleep or not, you’re going into today: how are you going to live it?
It’s depressingly easy to go into every day looking forward to when your obligations for the day are over. I find myself calculating how many more hours of class I have, how many more hours of work and how much time remains before I have “free time,” which nearly always turns into homework time.
Yet, aren’t those obligations the things that you chose to be involved in? You signed up for all those activities for a reason. They’re all things that you’re passionate about; why are you waiting for them to be over so that you have “free time”?
Wasn’t college itself a decision on your part? Spending each day holding out for the end of it, for sleep, for the weekend or for our next meal is a huge waste.
I don’t want to just survive college. I want to make the most of every hour’s commitment, which I freely chose to be involved in. These are some of the most formative years of my life. How am I allowing myself to be formed by what I am experiencing?
Last semester, I found myself, when asked the question, “How are you?” inevitably replying “Tired.” I then added on, “but good,” when it was a good day.
Eventually, a friend and I decided that it was simpler, when greeting each other, to say, “Normal,” which carried the implication of exhaustion without saying it outright.
Yet where was the joy in all this? We’re attending one of the most incredible Catholic schools in the world, and we’re trying to just get through the day?
Joy is a choice we make, every single morning. We can either survive the day, or we can choose joy and not only thrive ourselves, but bring a slice of that joy to everyone we encounter that day. A simple smile is all it takes, as cheesy as that sounds.
Because the truth is that we are the face of Franciscan. Remember that day you first visited campus? The thing that stuck out most to me was the joyful presence of the people around me and the vibrant community that existed here.
Yet you’re the essence of that community. You can’t go through college, especially at a place like this, assuming that others will be the face of Franciscan to those around them. If everyone did that, who would joyfully welcome the visitors, the strangers, the freshman and anyone else?
It’s easy to hand that job off to someone else, especially when you’re tired and busy as we all are. Yet we are not a people of the future. The only time you can change is that in which you live.
So be present. Be tired because you were studying, but please be present. Show us that joy that only you can because your choice to be the face of Franciscan is a choice that will echo in eternity.