Not just a Story

Well, we are back in Virginia, where there is snow on the ground. No more dirt and Cacti, or 80 degree weather. Boy, it is not easy to be back. Although, growing and learning is not always easy either.
 
For those of you who do not know, our class went to Phoenix, Arizona over Spring Break to do some service related activities. While there, we did house visits with refugee families, delivered donations to said families, sorted donations, worked with a few companies based around refugee resettlement, and explored Arizona a bit. It was amazing. YEEE YEEE.
 
BUT, now we have returned to JMU. Back to the cold. Back to the rush. Back to school work and barely any sleep. I want to go back, yet I know I need to be here. We are fortunate to be called to go to college and interact with our peers. 
 
With that being said, now what? How do we take what we learned in Arizona and put it into action here in Harrisonburg and back at home?
 
For starters, I think the first thing to know is: do not assume. Every single person has a story. Not just one story though, but many. And not just many stories, but they also have passions, likes, dislikes, fears, hopes, dreams, and feelings. They are a human being, just like you and me. 
 
This video displays this in a way, where the speaker describes her experiences of people assuming there was only one story to know about her since she came from Nigeria. 

SO… Ask questions about people’s lives. Get to know who they are. See how beautifully they have been crafted together. Find similarities. Accept differences. Love one another.
 
Realize that there are so many people on this Earth. That we were all created uniquely, for a reason, and have been purposefully placed together. 
 
Let time not be an issue. Take a seat.
 
In Arizona, we were able to sit down, speak with the refugee families, and get to know each of them as a person, not just as a refugee or a story. The gratitude they displayed from this small act blew me away. All we did was ask typical questions, yet they were so joyful. This image will always stick with me.
 
Refugees or non-refugees, people are people.
 
People want to be known. They want to be heard. They want to be loved. 
 
Overall, let us be open to the people we come in contact with. Be open to sharing your life. Be open to hearing about others. To asking questions. To show love in a way that will make others light up.
 
We have been blessed with what we have been given, so why not use it?
-A.R.
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