Bracelets and Dixie Cups

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The other day I was on a walk with my roommate to de-stress. College has way of giving microscopic decisions HUGE significance, to the point where deciding on what to wear to work the next day becomes life-or-death. It’s exhausting. (Sidenote: look for a post about my go-to list of ways to get rid of stress. We’re halfway through the semester, which means it’ll be coming very soon.)

As we were talking about school and the future and parents and expectations, we found that our neighbors had set up a lemonade stand. It was obvious that they had made signs themselves and had devoted a great deal of time to their project. When we got closer, we realized that these kids had devoted their entire Saturday to Bood: Water Mission. (http://www.bloodwatermission.com/about-us/)

We stopped and talked to them for a few minutes. One girl had been working on bracelets for weeks to sell at this lemonade stand. Another had helped make cookies from scratch. When I looked at the two moms sitting in the shade to see if they were going to elaborate, they shook their heads and said, “They did this all on their own.”

I bought a bracelet (“Oh, that one was my favorite to make. You picked a good one.”) and asked why they wanted to do something like this. At that moment, a five-year-old whose name I didn’t even know was able to melt any stress I had with two sentences. She shrugged and said quite matter-of-factly, “We want to help people who don’t have water. Everyone needs clean water.”

Powerful stuff. I had to fight the instant guilt I felt by stressing out over school, but then I was just thankful for the gentle simplicity of a child’s perspective. I remembered that my grades and internships are only tiny pieces to a much greater picture that I share with the rest of the world.

This world is very egocentrically based. We’re taught to compete and make a name for ourselves quicker and better than the next guy. It becomes easy to shrink inside your own world and let that be the only world you dwell in. That day, I was so thankful that a group of children was able to pull me out of that mindset and plop me down in a much bigger world where trivial stress did not exist.

After asking them for a picture so we could spread the word to our friends (they about burst with excitement), my roommate and I were on our way home. And this time, we spent the time talking about things that had nothing to do with stress and everything to do with the beauty of simplicity.

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