My husband and I have an ongoing joke that I spent years in school, wrote hundreds of papers, and went thousands of dollars into debt at USU just for the opportunity to receive the publication my college mails to all its alumni.
"Liberalis." From the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. I have a lifetime membership.
I suppose I secretly look forward to receiving that quarterly magazine in the mail. It's sleek, silky cover feels smooth in my hand. Some of the faces of professors being featured for awards and grants are deeply familiar. The gorgeous glossy photos of the campus, the quad, the Old Main building evoke memories of late nights, beloved roommates, study sessions, and breakfast at The Hub. I loved Utah State. I loved the time I spent there.
Plus, the magazine makes me feel all academic and stuff!
One morning, while snarfing a bowl of Golden Grahams for breakfast, I lazily flipped through the pages of Liberalis. One article in particular -- "American Dreamer" -- caught my eye. I quickly became engrossed in the inspiring story of Dr. Mehdi Heravi.
Dr. Heravi is an author, a scholar, and a philanthropist who came to USU (from Iran) to gain higher education and to experience American life. He eventually received his bachelor's and master's degrees from USU's College of Humanities and Social Sciences. And it was at the American University School of International Service in Washington, D.C. where he received his PhD. Dr. Heravi is a brilliant man who later served as vice president (for a time) at the National University of Iran.
But the thing I loved the most about the article? The thing I loved the most about Dr. Heravi?
His extraordinary selflessness.
Dr. Heravi helps support an orphanage in Northern Iran. He visits the orphanage often and adores the children living there. He has donated to several organizations related to cerebral palsy; a cause close to his heart as his own son is afflicted with the disease. He has established two scholarship funds for students longing to attend USU. He has compassionately given of his time, talents, and money.
His closing statement struck me, so I read it twice: "I have faith in humanity," Heravi said. "And hopefully I will continue to have good health so I can achieve the things I want to achieve. You know, a low aim in life is a crime. The sky is the limit and humanity is the priority."
Humanity is the priority.
In the past, I have frequently joked with friends and family that I pray to have good health and to live a long life so I can do all the things I want to do -- like read all the books in the world! OR, just read as many books as I can! I want to lay in the sun on the island of Santorini. I want to learn how to make and then can my old neighbor's infamous apple sauce. (Dudes, the recipe is top secret!) And I yearn to see the Sistine Chapel before I die.
Those are still my dreams and I suppose they'll always occupy a deep and most treasured place in my heart . . . But as I've gotten older my desires have changed. Some of my dreams are different. They don't place me at center stage. They are about other people.
I honestly and sincerely long to live a full life of service. I want to sustain those who come into my sphere of influence. I want to extend hands of friendship to women and mothers who feel alone, afraid, or inadequate. I want to pay for the car behind me in the drive-thru, "heart attack" my neighborhood for Valentine's Day, and send care packages and love notes in the mail! Instead of "reading all the books," I want to place all the books I can into the hands of deserving children. I want to pinata the world! In love and compassion, I want to carry on my back those who have been swept off their feet by pain and adversity.
With the words I speak, with the words I write, I want to remind you that you are sunlight.
A visit to Santorini?
That's just a bonus!