Embolden thy hearts
Austin Taliaferro | Friday, March 20, 2015
While standing in line to pay my respects to Fr. Theodore Hesburgh the other night, a thought came to my mind of how one measures a life. The phrase ‘good life’ gets thrown around in speech when referring to those who have passed quite often. But how do you measure a ‘good life’?
I pondered this as I looked around at the hundreds of people who had come to honor Fr. Ted and the answer that came to me was life is measured by the relationships you form with the people you meet in life. Listening to the countless stories about his life there was always a single consistency among them — his willingness and courage to meet and form a relationship with those around him. Be it with civil rights leaders, presidents, foreign dignitaries, the homeless, the students of Notre Dame, he never balked from trying to meet and show brotherhood to his fellow man and woman. There are countless stories of him approaching people he didn’t know around campus and starting conversations that, whether he realized it or not, had an impact on their lives.
This way of living is often ill advised in today’s world as we are swarmed with media of the atrocities going on in the world by evil men, and it can make our heart timid to the idea of trying to be in communion with those around us. With how connected the entire world is through the Internet, it is laughable how disconnected personally from each other we are now. I once sat on a train to Chicago for three hours across from a man who was a little more disheveled than I was, and we didn’t speak once, even though we were so close to each other and the only people in the car. I think of what Fr. Ted would have done, and I know he would have started a conversation with the man. It’s these missed opportunities that stop us from possibly having a life changing moment or receiving a friend that we may never have the opportunity to befriend again. For all I know, I could have been the person that man needed on that day to help him with something he was going through in life, but because of my wariness, I may never know.
Next time a situation arises where someone is put in front of you and there is the possibility of creating a friendship, put down your phone, stop sending a yak, embolden your heart and think of what Fr. Ted would have done. With the amount of outpouring of emotion that tens of thousands of people have partaken in over him in the last week, I think Fr. Ted’s life can be used as a true example of what a ‘good life’ really is.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.