I had the privilege of spending several hours on the Virginia Tech campus today. Many in the entire Blacksburg, Virginia community and others who are a part of the Hokie Nation spent the day reflecting and remembering. On campus, the day began with a 3.2 mile run in honor of the 32 victims. A special memorial service took place at noon and the day ended with a candlelight vigil. Just as I did last year (c.f. My 04-16-08 Blog and the poem coming from that day [under the poems tab] ), I learned from my time on campus. If we are to truly prevail, we must indeed learn how to run, walk and talk…
It was great that over 4,300 participated in the inaugural Run For Remembrance. Life is certainly as a race we must run and in order to finish well, we must be learning along the way (c.f. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27). The key to the race is running with purpose and discipline and staying on the right path to the finish. What about that one on 04-16-07 who was running the wrong way? As difficult as this is, could there not have been some way to reflect and learn from that life? That brings me to my next point—walking.
What if there was an end to this Run For Remembrance where each participant simply walked another tenth of a mile? That would at least acknowledge that troubled life which brought about this terrible tragedy! What if we all took more time to walk outside of our own circle of friends and familiarity and reached out to the others around us? As I walked alone all over the campus, I reflected on how it would be better if we were learning to walk up to others and greet them or even try to talk with them. That brings me to my last point—talking.
While walking around alone I did take the initiative to greet and even talk with some that I saw who were also alone. Why weren’t more doing this? Maybe some were, but I did not observe anyone else doing this. Most were just talking with the friends or group they were with. During my entire time on campus around hundreds of other people, while waiting alone at the memorials, walking around the chapel or noting remembrances in the student center, not one person greeted me or initiated talking with me. Had I not initiated greeting others and even some conversations with others, there would not have been one person talking with me all day long. Do you see what we need to learn there?
Friend, we should not honor the life of Seung-Hui Cho in the same way that we do the 32 victims, yet we dare not ignore the lessons needing to be learned through his life too. As you run the race of your life, please reach out to or at least acknowledge the others around you (especially if they are running the wrong way or off the path). As you are walking around take the time to walk up to someone who is alone. Talk with others and even those outside of your own circle of friends. If we seek to communicate with others we will more readily recognize those who are struggling and be able to help encourage them and possibly even prevent another tragedy.
Please learn from my own experience today and even last year and reach out to and serve others you find along the pathway of your life. You may wish to look at my “Learn to Prevail: 32 to 33” poem written last year (under the poems tab). Yes, there were many doing much good today and supporting their friends, but what about the needs of those around us that we don’t know or even those who are our enemies? Consider the challenging words of Jesus in Matthew 5:44:
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
Learn better how to run, walk and talk so that you and each of us can truly prevail!