Remembering Sean Valero
Cornelius Rogers | Wednesday, April 6, 2011
It’s a five letter word that makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Yet it is also one of the few things we all have in common. Sooner or later, everyone will die. Death has a way of putting things in perspective. So many things we spend our time worried about do not seem to matter in the face of death. How people act in response to a death speaks volumes about their character.
As almost everybody knows, Notre Dame student Sean Valero died last week. If so many people know about his death, then why am I writing a Letter to the Editor about it? Because I do not want Sean to be forgotten. Notre Dame moves at a very fast pace and even tragic events like these can get lost in the hustle and bustle of life under the Dome. Too often we become preoccupied with stuff that can make us lose sight of the big picture. We cram every minute of our day with homework, papers, projects, study breaks, lunches, dinners, texting friends, tweets, Facebook posts, etc.
I think we should take a moment to examine what is really important in our lives. What I would like everyone to do is take five minutes out of their day to stop and think about the wonderful students we have lost this year. Their names are Declan Sullivan, Lizzy Seeberg and Sean Valero. Maybe this will inspire some self-reflection. Maybe this will lead to a meaningful conversation with a friend.
We spend so much time talking about trivialities. Why can’t we just spend five minutes talking about those who have died? Notre Dame is a place that prides itself on valuing community. Our tight-knit community is great at times, but for those who feel that they don’t belong, it might make them feel more isolated. It is great that Notre Dame has rigorous academic standards … until we spend every minute possible cramming our schedules to get better grades when we should be cramming every inch of our heart with love for each other.
The time has come to ask ourselves the hard questions, such as “What do I believe?” and “Does the way I live my life accord with those values?” Have I spent my time at Notre Dame developing meaningful relationships with people or am I constantly counting down the days to the weekend? Are my conversations aimed at getting to know and love the person in front of me or am I just trying to fill an awkward silence? Do I see other people, even strangers, as getting in the way of my own happiness or do I see loving them as the only way to be truly happy?
I realize that other things in the world and at Notre Dame are going on. And that’s a good thing because life must go on. But I would ask that amid the hullabaloo of Bookstore Basketball, women’s basketball and whatever else may be competing for your attention, that you give time for serious reflection and meaningful conversation. Thank you.