Youth Sunday Testimonies
Sunday, June 17, 2007
On the first day of school in 5th grade, my homeroom teacher Mr. Peed gave us all some very important advice. He said that the best way for us to nurture our young curious minds was to always ask: why? So I, being the smart, countered with a similar question: why me? Why should I sit in this class, why should I listen to this man teach, why was I subject to a bureaucracy which forcibly placed me in a school when Iíd rather enjoy doing other things.
for me, as Iíve grown older my why me attitude has slightly shifted. Over
this last Christmas break I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting
Now to continue my story I must reveal to you all one of my most sacred secrets. Iím serious now. Once I say this, Iíd be very upset if you so much as mentioned this in fellowship hall, on the ride home, or even 10 years from now. This stays between you and me Ė and by ďyou,Ē I am, of course, referring to everyone in this congregation. Also, let me preface by mentioning though this is embarrassing it comes as a direct result of an enlightening moment I had while staring at the Sierra Leonean sky. Well here goes, I absolutely love star gazingÖ OK, I donít see the look of amazement and shock that one would expect after sharing one of their closest secrets, but fine. Let me at least explain why I enjoy it so much. There are 3 main reasons.
The first is that it is very humbling for me. It puts things in perspective when I can look up into the vast landscape of twinkling lights and know that these things arrived on this planet far before me and will stay there far after I am gone. That these same stars stood over people and places that I could never see or feel. To look and stare at something that I could never possibly grasp or contain makes me feel incredibly insignificant and ordinary, as depressing as that may sound. It causes my actions to seem unimportant when I step back and realize that there are others literally searching for a way to put food on the table.
leads into my second reason which is that I feel more connected to the
greater human community when I see the stars. As I sat looking at the
illuminated sky my mind couldnít help but drift back to DC, and imagine who
back home was watching these stars. This led me to wonder who anywhere in the
world could be peering at the very same images. Itís tremendously powerful
for me to look towards the heavens and wonder why I was in the position Iím
in. Why had I been fortunate enough to be born in to a family, a country, and
a life, of relative wealth, leisure, and comfort while I could just have
easily been placed into a situation of poverty, struggle, and war? This
consumed my thoughts as my gaze fell from the sky down to the rocky, unpaved
the 3rd and final reason for my love of stargazing is inspiration.
Itís incredibly motivating to understand how little effect I can have on the
stars themselves, while realizing that I can greatly alter the world beneath
them. Though I was surrounded by destitute circumstances I held hope that
maybe I could conceivably bring change to the situation. Call me naÔve or
even foolish for thinking this but I stand by the belief that all of us can
positively change the world. Now although curing AIDS is beyond the reach for
most of us, our simple acts of kindness and charity can also have profound
impacts on those around us. Though we sometimes forget, or at least I do, we
have all been placed in a situation of extreme luxury and opportunity, but
this opportunity is wasted if we donít use it for the betterment of others.