This year has brought with it a number of new, unexpected joys. Many of these have come in my new role as Director of Service. This job has given me a privileged vantage point from which I have been able to experience firsthand the generosity of our students and school community. Our young women and men have stepped up to go above and beyond expectations on practically every service initiative we have undertaken.
Take, for instance, the annual “home makeover” that our school undertakes for the Brian Muha Foundation’s Run the Race Center. As many who are familiar with the school know, the Run the Race Center was founded to provide a loving, faith-centered extracurricular environment for youth living in the Hilltop neighborhood on the west side of Columbus. Each year, Run the Race selects one family receiving services from the Center to receive a home makeover, which our Run the Race support club and family and consumer science classes sponsor.
Each year’s makeover has its own challenges. This year, the challenge came in the form of a short schedule. Due to our calendar this year, we only had a few weeks to put everything together. Nonetheless, our classes and club came through tremendously and were able to pull of a great makeover.
During the event, I worked in the bathroom with seniors Tim Anderson and Ian McCandlish. There was a lot of work to be done. We needed to completely repaint the room with a couple of coats of paint and lay down some sheet vinyl flooring. I was struck by how much Tim and Ian had it together. They seemed to know exactly what they were doing and worked with a great sense of diligence and focus.
Not only that, but these young men were not afraid of a little dirt. The house was sort of rundown in the first place (thus the need for the makeover), but the toilet was in particularly bad shape. Part of the work included taking off the tank so that the area around and behind it could be properly cleaned and painted. It wasn’t pretty, but Tim and Ian jumped right in and got the job done.
In the words of Pope Francis, “Mercy gets its hands dirty.” I am blessed to have the opportunity to see so many of our students commit to lives of service, even when it is not the most convenient or comfortable. They understand that convenience and comfort do not bring lasting joy. It is in giving of themselves, even in the midst of staggering schedules and courseloads, that our students find a more durable kind of happiness. I think we can all learn a lesson or two from them.