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Tell me a Story

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So I met this girl a few weeks ago, things took off in a flash, and we’re off to a great start.  Now we’re dating, and I’m really happy about it.  We met in a class we have together, and met up one day and started talking/getting to know each other.  During the process of doing so, she frequently said, and continues to say,  ”Tell me a story.”

So I tell her all the stories I can, all of them I can think of.  She keeps asking, I keep telling, and hopefully I don’t run out anytime soon.  It’s actually quite remarkable how much I’m remembering and recalling from years and years ago.  I took her to my room and showed her a bunch of old trinkets and nic-nacs that decorate my walls, the closet, the floor.  I pick up an item and the memory flows right back into me, whether it was sad, funny, happy, angry, anything I felt just came back.

On my wall there are so many items:

  • A t-shirt that cost me more than anything I’ve ever paid for
  • Pictures that brought me back from craziness to reality
  • Notes and letters from loved ones
  • The only Gold medal I’ve ever earned
  • much more

Currently my favorite:

  • Fortune from cookie which reads:  ”When winter comes, heaven will rain success upon you.”

I had some Chinese food in September while I was filling out scholarship applications to pay for school.  I was in a particularly pressing financial situation and there seemed to be no real resolution, so I wanted to try my luck on the scholarship end of things.  My fortune cookie read, “When winter comes, heaven will rain success upon you.”  While there are many ways to take that, I merely assumed that I might be blessed with good academic performance, and maybe I’d be lucky enough to earn a small amount for a scholarship.  I completed my applications within a week or so and sent them in.

In October, an e-mail was sent out to all scholarship applicants at the university notifying all that any award letters were to be sent out by the end of that month.  I eagerly awaited and checked my mailbox on a daily basis to look for either a letter of award or of thanks for applying.  The end of the month came, and I thought to give it a couple of extra days, as post can take some extra time.  By the fifth, I still had not so much seen even a letter of thanks for application for any scholarship, and was very confused.   I went into the financial aid office to inquire about the situation.  On my inquiry, they told me that all notifications had been sent for all scholarships, and that they did not do letters of thanks for application.  Simply put, they claimed that if I had received nothing at that time, I was to assume that I would receive nothing.  It was distressing, but I knew that it was all a matter of resources; the school sought to save money by not sending thank you letters, and not everyone could be selected as a scholarship recipient.  I just carried on throughout the semester and performed all my duty as usual.

I went home for Christmas this year.  As I’ve grown a bit older, I’ve been growing more detached from my family, financially, physically, and emotionally.  It was a good holiday, plenty to eat, and good company.  The one thing that made this year different though, was the usual gift exchange between family members.  In the past, we had always drawn names from a hat about a month or two before Christmas, and we were to get a gift for that person.  Same name drawing took place, but it’s as if my name were left out of the hat.  Whether it was for financial reasons or the name actually was accidentally left out, I had not received anything in the usual gift exchange, not even as much as a nice card to express love or gratitude.  It was a warm Christmas, but I felt left out.

I returned to my apartment the next day, and checked the mailbox to discover that I had received a letter from the UMW Office of Admissions.  I had assumed it was a letter of some sort notifying me of my presence on the dean’s list.  I opened the letter as if it were no big deal, expecting to read some congratulatory statements on academic achievement.  I unfolded the letter to reveal in the first paragraph, much to my surprise, the words “Mary Siegrist Hinz Leadership Award,” and “$14,100,” and proceeded to fall to my knees, and faint.  I awoke and I couldn’t stop crying, or stop screaming in joy.  My roommate Justin was nearby, and read the letter while I was out.  I pulled him down to the ground and rolled around hugging him just yelling “YES!” and laughing.  My financial worries and concerns for the rest of my time in college melted away in an instant.  It was an affirmation and a testament to the value of delayed gratification and hard work paying off.

So the fortune cookie was right, success came down in the form of a huge financial relief.  What’s more, though, is the deeper meaning that I see now, that when hard times, challenges, trial, and tribulation (a winter in our very existence) come our way, we find a way to move on, and heaven will provide us with all we need.  However you wanna look at it, I was one lucky son-of-a-gun.

Everything has a story.  So, do something for me:  find an item that you have an extreme emotional attachment to, take a picture of it, and tell the story!

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