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Whisper This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


I like to fancy myself separate from everyone else. I want to believe that no one can write as well as I can, or play Beethoven as artistically, or draw with as much realism and emotion. But the truth is that I am not a Pulitzer Prize nominee or a finalist for the Van Cliburn. I am just one drop of water in the ocean of arts, and I float on the surface as the prodigal elites power toward the deep, mysterious blue. Sometimes I stare down from the surface with the hot sun warming my back and begin to swim into the intriguing, murky water, but a small voice whispers a warning and I stop. The voice pesters me, asking, “What do you value? Whom do you serve? Success or humility?”

People today often mock humility. Our society advocates confidence to the extent of exercising prudish pride and demoralizing arrogance. We walk around displaying our strength in our fashionable gaits, designer apparel, and enlightened intelligence. The world instructs me to stand out, to be noticed, and to make my dreams reality. But with so many voices screaming for attention, the hollering becomes a blur of misled people. A soft whisper or a rare meaningful voice screams more loudly than the most ostentatious shrill. That tiny whisper lives within me. It preaches humility and pulls me back from locking arms with the boisterous crowd.

Sometimes I confuse humility with a lack of self-esteem. I feel inferior, small, and subdued beneath the shouts of the masses. At times, in desperation, I want to claw at the crowd for attention and plead, “Let me be just like you! I can scream! I can shout! Hear me!” At times like these, I have to be strong and remember who I am. The little voice whispers, “You are methodical, understanding, compassionate, and principled.” The whisper seems to hold my hand as it guides me on the quiet, unnoticed path weaving through the savage mob.

I believe the University of Notre Dame is a stop along my path and a break from the incessant shouting. At Notre Dame, I do not feel a cold force yanking me to jump out of my unorthodox lifestyle to hoot and holler with the masses. I can be who I need to be. I feel protection, safety, and a place where I can grow and be nourished into the strong, moral, and humble individual I am meant to be.

I feel the right kind of community that helps one another, celebrates together, and pursues excellence as a whole. At Notre Dame, genuine individuals are involved and prominent in the community yet still true to themselves, their purpose, and their mission in life. These are the people I want surrounding me. This is the community I need to back me up.

I can contribute to this community because I believe this is where I belong. I can see myself worshipping in the Basilica for Sunday Mass or in the dorm chapel holding hands with my roommates during the “Our Father.” I see myself in the classroom passionately discussing the classics, drawing with lead-blackened hands in the art room, ripping across the piano keys in a music class, or solving an enigmatic math problem. Most importantly, I see myself helping others and becoming more attuned to the soft-spoken voice of Jesus Christ tickling my ears.

And when I leave Notre Dame refreshed and prepared to return to the defiant world, I will be ready to whisper into the ears of that lost, desperately screaming populous. Maybe one day they too will quiet down and listen to that pure voice saying, “Serve others. Be humble.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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sello said...
Nov. 5, 2010 at 10:13 pm:
this is really good!
 
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