A man sat in a metro station in Washington DC during rush hour and started to play the violin. He played 6 Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During this time, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people actually stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him some loose change, which means he collected about $32. When he finished playing and silence took over the metro, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth over 3.5 million dollars. Two days before playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100. This is a true story folks. The Washington post organized Joshua playing incognito in the metro station as a social experiment about our lives. About how we use our time, throughout our day and what they learned was that if we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing one of the most intricate pieces ever, what else are we missing? This brings me to my first question: Why are we in such a hurry? We need to take time and enjoy our life! We should do things that we love and enjoy, spend time with our friends and family, and not sweat the small stuff. We need to simply breathe, celebrate, and serve each day of our life to the fullest. We need to live it!
We’ve all heard of superstitions, right? Well I must have walked under a ladder, seen a heard of black cats, broken a glass mirror, opened an umbrella indoors, and spilt a whole tub full of salt because April 22, 2013 had to be one of the most unlucky days of my life and it all started with a phone call from Emily Beneda. Emily had forgot the State Degree Awards and Star Plaque Awards back in Manhattan and she needed a knight in shining armor to take them to her in Garden City! (So) I take off on this 4 and a half hour adventure all by myself and not being on the road, but for 30 minutes I already see in my rearview mirror berries N cherries. That’s right the police, luckily they left me off with a warning. I get back on the road and arrive to Garden City just in the nick of time; I drop the plaques and awards off for Emily. Emily and I say our goodbyes to the Southwest District and then we start our long way home back to Manhattan. Emily decides to ride home with me and her dad decides to take her vehicle home to Wilson and this is where the bad luck just gets worse. Craving some hamburgers and French fries for our 4.5 hour ride home we stop at the closest McDonalds thinking it’d only take about 5 minutes. Well 5 minutes turns into 10 and 10 turns into 30 and 45 minutes later I get my hamburger and French fires. We hop back on the road with full stomachs and make it not 20 minutes and my front right hood latch breaks, due to the hurricane force winds we were facing. Great. Awesome. Amazing. It’s only 9:30 at night, Emily and I only have a 4-hour drive, we only have class at 8:30 in the morning, and I only have an immobile Jeep. With no other option besides sleeping outside with the wild animals, we drive 20 miles per hour all the way to the closest Walmart, 30 miles away. Making it to WalMart, needing to use the restroom restrooms pretty badly, we make that first priority and wouldn’t you know it they were under renovation. Emily and I really didn’t need to go to the bathroom, no big deal. Running frantically around WalMart like chicken with their head’s cut off we finally find someone to help us fix my jeep at 11:30 at night 4 hours away from Manhattan in the subzero weather. Finally, avoiding any and all other mishaps we make it home a little before 4 am in the morning.
Talk about bad luck, but think about how much worse this trip would have been if we worried, complained, and were negative the entire time. Emily and I knew that worrying and complaining was only going to make our situation worse. We stayed calmed and relaxed. What we did was breathe. Why don’t we breathe more in our lives? Why do we worry about every little thing that happens to us? Why aren’t we more positive? What we need is happiness, positivity, encouragement, and liveliness! Nobody wants to be around rude, negative, sad, Debbie Downers; ain’t nobody got time for that. Our lives are too short to complain, wine, and hate. We should breathe! We control our actions, our thoughts and patterns. Let’s stop being the victim and let’s start being the solution. We shouldn’t sweat the small stuff in our life. Emily and I were able to enjoy our time together, make memories that were going to last us a life time, and I got 2 new ratchets from Walmart. Folks, let’s breathe! It’s easy; maybe this means for you not stressing out about that science test because freaking out will only make it worse; or maybe you’re stressing out because you don’t know if you should tell this really cute girl that you like her; just breathe because the Big Man upstairs already has His plan for you. Let’s make it our goal to not worry, stress, and be negative, let’s live it and simply breathe more.
Breathing is only the first piece to our puzzle though the second is celebrating and we should celebrate our lives daily. This next individual did just that. My ag advisor, Mrs. Linnebur was one of the most charismatic, outgoing, positive, bubbly, and by far the most adventurous person I’ve known. She was a passionate, caring, giving Ag Advisor for 10 years. Each day Mrs. Linnebur celebrated her life by doing what she loved. She understood the meaning of “risking boldly.” L-Dawg experienced more in 30 years than some people do their entire life. I’ll never forget how Mrs. Linnebur celebrated her life by always seeking new adventures. She was always quick to try something out-of-the-box that would leave us all wondering “did she really just do that?” It was my Freshman year with Mrs. Linnebur and our first big trip as a chapter together. It was our annual Ski Trip and this year we convinced L-Dawg that she was going to ski for her first time. Us knowing that she had no business being on the ski slope, she was still determined. We got Mrs. Linnebur all set up and it was time, we were headed over to the bunny slope. Now L-Dawg didn’t have her skis on, but for 20 seconds and she was already running into people. Mrs. Linnebur’s problem was stopping. She didn’t understand the concept of pizzaing aka snow-plowing aka stopping with your skis. She wouldn’t point her skis in so she would just keep going until she ran into someone, typically that was me. One time she was going so fast towards the ski lifts that she didn’t only take me out, but the family with their 2 five year olds in front of me! After having enough of her skiing experience and realizing that skiing maybe wasn’t for her she spent the majority of her time on the tubing section.
Whatever the case may be, Mrs. Linnebur celebrated her life through her love of new adventures. She celebrated her life daily. We should all live more like Mrs. Linnebur and celebrate our lives by doing things we enjoy. The more we praise and celebrate our life, the more we have to celebrate within it! Answer this question to your self: “Who is happier, the one who has braved the storm of life and lived it or the one who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” Please, don’t merely exist! When we celebrate we forget about all the worries in our life and live. Celebrating our life maybe spending a few extra dollars and trying that weird exotic food, or it could be signing up and running that marathon that you’ve always wanted to run, or it could be buying your very first herd of cattle to start your ranch. We can mark those things off our bucket list and do something that we can look back on and say “wow!” However you want to celebrate your life, do it. Folks, we don’t know when our last day here on earth is, we need to live each moment like it’s our last and that’s exactly what Mrs. Linnebur did. What is that thing you love to do? On your way home tonight, think about how you are going to celebrate it. What is that one thing you’ve always wanted to do? Now how are you going to live it? Mrs. Linnebur lived it by celebrating her life, now why don’t we celebrate ours?
Once we have breathed and celebrated our life, it’s time to give back. Serve those who have given to us and to truly put service above ourselves. This year I had the opportunity to work a meet and greet with Kansas State University Student Foundation called the Celebration of Giving, a meet and greet for people who donated or gave over $100,000 to Kansas State University. Being an individual who a. loves to talk and b. loves to meet people this meet and greet was so great that it was like watching Pitch Perfect for the first time. I was able to meet dozen of caring and giving people, but the one couple that stuck out the most and impacted me the most though was Judy and Allen. They were truly the definition of ballers! Allen graduated from K-State over 50 years ago and was a farmer in the Philippines and Judy was an elementary teacher here in Kansas. The cool thing about these two is that it didn’t matter how much this couple donated, they were real, genuine, authentic, and you could see that they were getting fulfillment from just talking with us college students. They said that seeing us and learning from us is why they donated towards K-State. It was not about the fact that they gave money, but they gave towards students futures. They loved helping students and wanted to see us succeed. They gave to K-State to help us.
Service - seven letters that can mean so much. Webster defines service as “the action of helping or doing work for someone,” but what does service mean to you? How can you use your definition to impact the people around you? What matters with service is that we follow through with our definition on a daily basis. Mahatma Gandhi once said that “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” We were born to serve others just like Allen and Judy. We shouldn’t be selfish, we should be selfless and help others. Each of one us can find a place to make a difference. Give back to the things that have given to you. I challenge you to continue to find areas in which you can serve, whether that be serving as a high school science tutor cause Lord knows we need more of them, serving at a boys and girls club, or something as small, but powerful as holding the door open for someone. Every single one of us in here can be great because each and every one of us can serve. When we serve, give, and help those around us our lives are filled with joy, happiness, and positivity. We feel fulfillment within ourselves. Judy and Allen are an example of people who have lived it. They have lived their life by serving those around them and give back to those who have given to them. Now it’s our turn to live it by service.
Kansas FFA, I ask this question again, why are we in such a hurry? Why don’t we slow down and just breathe? Why don’t we take time to simply celebrate our lives? Why don’t we follow our definition of service and truly serve those around us? Everyone pull out your phones right now, seriously. Get on either Twitter or Facebook and tweet or post how you are going to live your life to the fullest. Use the hashtag #LivingMyLifeBy. How are you going to impact other people by serving? How will you make a difference in your life by breathing? What will you do to celebrate your life more? Kansas FFA, I challenge you to live your life to the fullest! Don’t worry and stress about your life problems, take time to make those memories that you will never forget, discover your definition of service and truly live by it, every single day! Kansas FFA let’s breathe, celebrate, and serve! Let’s live it!