Just a little tid bit from my many thoughts today I felt compelled to share…
I ran into Nasser today. He is one of the men I took to get a library card on the first day of my internship. Him and his sweet wife stood out to me right off the bat, as they had been in the U.S. longer than the rest of the group and were quite talkative. He speaks English pretty well. Today when he came up to me I was sitting outside of Reading Terminal Market enjoying my lunch break alone. It was so fun to see a familiar face but also to see him thriving – exuding confidence and taking initiative, even just to come up and say hello. With briefcase in hand and a smile across his face I could see a displaced man finding his way in a bustling and busy new city. This made me very happy. I love to see people I’ve worked with or met outside of NSC. In only my first week on the job, I have had a few encounters similar to this and, in a way I can’t fully articulate, it is very encouraging.
I feel such a deep connection to this city and to the people in Philly already. It is so overflowing with passion everywhere that I turn. I love that. I believe that is why I vibe so well here, always having been a very passionate person. I am enjoying feeling every feeling of the city and every feeling of my life around me to the fullest extent. This is something I became numb to over the past few years and reawakening all my senses upon arriving here has been incredible.
When I live outside of myself and my own comforts I realize there is so much more I can feel. Instead of just feeling things in the sense of how will they will effect me or relate to me, I am experienceing things and feeling situations more and more through the lens of others. So much joy can be found in bringing others joy. And not in a way that reflects back highly on myself but truly with an others first mentality. I have always known this to be true, I have even experienced this joy first hand many times, but I had forgotten it over the past year. In situations where previously I would have focused more on the negatives it could have on me, I have shifted my perspective to seeing how my whole being can effect the feelings of others positively. When my mindset is this way much more joy can be found for everyone involved. Since arriving here, I am constantly reminding myself throughout the day how beautiful the things around me are. I do this because I never want to lose this “others first” mentality and I never want to lose the spark I have found here in Philadelphia. Merely pausing as I walk down the street to take my eyes off of my phone and take in the funky smells of the city or look around at the massive reflectant skyscrapers surrounding me and think, “man, I am so happy to be here today doing what I am doing”, makes a world of a difference in my attitude about the day.
So so much joy can be found in helping another person find their smile. Such an impact came be made in taking a minute more to hold open a door, listen to someones story, teach someone something or simply smile at a passer by. I find when I am focused so much on my own success I sadly neglect caring for others success equally. But I don’t want my neighbors to fail. I want everyone to be successful. When your neighbors and community around you are thriving and succeeding right along side you it evicts a greater joy than you could ever experience alone. With this realization I am experiencing emotions fully and it is a beautiful thing to see the world that way. What a broken and beautiful place we live in and what an amazing platform each of us is given to make an impact and encourage one another right where we are everyday.
I firmly believe God puts us in situations and in places where we can thrive and shine his light. No matter how messy or random or insignificant it may feel. This is where God has you. Where you are is intentional. I encourage anyone reading this to find out why, dig deeper! The amazing thing about where you are in the world and about your life story is that it is completely unique to you. It is where God has you right now for a reason. It’s so easy to think “oh, if i were somewhere else instead of here I could better serve God” or “If I were in this stage of life, made this much money, had this fancy testimony, xyz.. I could make a difference.” I told myself that for years. Always viewing my present kind of as a transition stage to the good stuff. But I am now seeing daily where God can use me in the middle of this crazy city. And God can use all of us right where he has placed us, it is only a matter of looking outside ourselves and looking at the world around us through the eyes of Christ.