"i have this theory that if one can go out of their way to show compassion, it will start a chain reaction of the same." - rachel joy scott
Tonight I had the opportunity to attend a presentation that is known throughout the country as Rachel's Challenge. I have never heard of this program or the story of Rachel Joy Scott, but as I was walking into that middle school gym, I heard people were "getting ready for the tears" with tissues and getting ready for prayer. And I almost wanted to leave to prevent myself from getting too emotional (like I always do) and crying in front of a gym full of people. But as the night went on, I realized that no one could go through that presentation without the feeling of crying (or almost crying for you toughies out there) and heartbreak.
Tonight I heard the story of a very compassionate, kind, and inspiring girl named Rachel Joy Scott told by her father. She was the first student to be shot at the Columbine High School shooting that occured 11 years ago, and I could still sense and hear that feeling of loss in his voice even though it was so long ago. I was too young to remember or even hear about this event, but I was watching the news clips and footage from the scene of the crime, I had a chill down my spine. And I kept asking myself, "Who would do such a thing? How could someone have so much hate + cruelty in their hearts to want to kill hundreds of innocent people? Why did this even happen?" And it breaks my heart to know that there are people with hurtful and violent thoughts in the world still.
But the presentation wasn't to cry about the lives lost at the school shooting, it was to tell us Rachel's dream. Rachel's dream of passing on the idea of compassion. The idea of a chain reaction. A plague of love that kills hate with kindness. The words that she wrote in her journal made me reflect my life and what more I could do to be truly kind to people. I strongly believe in the power of a simple act of kindness, and Rachel's words really inspired me to step up a notch. I always talk about how I can't help but choose to see the good in everyone, and I used to think it was kind of a curse in that I find myself getting involved with people with bad intentions. But Rachel's first step to starting this chain reaction is to only see the good in people - it will make being nice to people so much easier and more real. So it's not a curse for me anymore, but the only thing I need to do is still be able to recognize when one's intentions aren't the best.
One last thing Rachel wrote about is the importance of dreams. She wrote that her dream of making everyone understand the true meaning of kindness and compassion is only a dream and seems nearly impossible, but she still believed in the strength of her dream of making it come true. To this day, Rachel's Challenge has reached over 11 million people! And it all began with Rachel believing in her dreams. You all have dreams. I know you do, and you know you do. And tonight reminded me that at times dreams may seem out of your reach and larger than your lifetime, but the amount of energy, soul, heart, blood, sweat, and faith you put into that dream will show. And it will grow, and it will come true. So don't give up.
If Rachel's Challenege ever comes to a city near you, I highly encourage you to go. Go in with an open heart and be ready for self-reflection. And unlike me, bring some tissues.
"I won't be labeled as average" - Rachel Joy Scott