Plural in the USA
On January 12th-15th, three students of Davidson College (Gracie Dover, Alexis Grant, and Sarah Jordan) as well as Tae Sun Kim, the director of the Multicultural House, attended an Interfaith Leadership Institute with the Interfaith Youth Core to learn more about interfaith action and the Better Together movement. During one of the sessions, a guest speaker Hannah Minks sang a parody of Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA.” “Plural in the USA” embodies the essence of the Interfaith movement. Make sure to check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrDVwj0y65s! Enjoy Interfaithing.
Davidson freshman, Samanvitha Sridhar, reflects on her experience volunteering with Room in the Inn as part of Davidson College’s Better Together campaign.
I began working with Room in the Inn as a way to serve and provide for our homeless neighbors, but our neighbors ended up serving and giving me more than I ever expected.
For many, faith lies in religion, but for others, it was in a passion, such as music, poetry or science. The neighbors’ unwavering attitude towards what they loved, despite the trials and tribulations they endured, stirred my heart. Their faith intensified as their lives became simple from their loss of material comforts.
Along with this simplicity comes a different kind of clarity—the clarity to focus inward as they realize they cannot hold on to the ephemeral and fleeting objects in this world. I realized that these people had every reason to complain and act disgruntled, but they never spoke of their dissatisfaction towards life unless it was to tell stories of their past in order to give lessons to others or hope the best from the future.
Another lesson I learned and try to emulate from the neighbors is that you can never smile or laugh enough. Regardless of any problems or worries plaguing their minds, they always lit up the room with their cheerfulness. This led me to recognize how everything we say not only impacts others, but also controls our ability to move forward in life.
The neighbors I met came from every walk of life– from unemployed music professors to drug dealers and psychopathic criminals. Some nights, I was lucky enough to read poems written by a deaf and mute neighbor or listen to stories of extreme suffering in times of darkness, as well as the painful walk towards the light. Every weekend with the neighbors became a surprise gift because I had no idea what I would hear or who I would meet next.
Their journeys left an imprint upon my heart—their experiences became my Muses and the lens through which they see the world began inspiring my own art and poetry. I don’t view the weekends with the neighbors as merely a service activity any longer, but as an act of worship in which I am constantly learning new ways to find beauty and contentment in the world, especially when people live in such difficult times.