On our visit to BASF, a chemical company, no one in our group had shoes that met the protocol required for visitors. Rather than being frustrated with us, BASF went out of their way to find shoes for us all to wear. It was incredibly kind of them to accommodate us, but obviously, they could not find everyone’s exact size on such short notice. The first pair of shoes offered to me was about four sizes too big. It was hard to walk in them, and if I am honest, it was challenging to keep a smile on my face and feel like this visit was still going to be fun.
Julie Rushik (our fearless leader) had a surprising response to this problem we faced. She did not want to trade her own shoes for ones that did not fit, but Julie chose to respond with a smile. She cheerfully hugged the employee who brought in the replacement shoes, and thanked them endlessly. Julie smiled and chose to respond out of genuine love even though the shoes did not fit. This type of attitude, one that lays aside one’s own wants/needs to make others happy, and loving generously, is something that I wish to emulate.
I am learning that the best way to respond to uncomfortable situations is with love and gratitude. This is difficult to do, but in the end it makes others feel valued. For me, the best experiences on this trip have occurred when people have chosen to respond like this.
A few days ago, our host mother’s coworker, Stephanie, asked if she could hang out with Caleigh and I. We were tired, but we chose to lay aside our want for sleep and act out of love. We decided to go to a mall with Stephanie, and it was a ton of fun. If Caleigh and I had not chosen to lay aside our wants and act out of love, we would not have learned more about Brazilian culture, made a new friend, or have been able to try Brazilian McFlurries which were amazing because we found out that they are made with sweetened condensed milk!
In today’s world, it is common for people to only think about what is best for themselves. If people don’t choose to act out of love for the sake of someone else, some of the most amazing things life has to offer will not happen. Love promotes and prompts both positivity and growth. Ultimately, this trip is teaching me to act with self-sacrificing love even when it is extremely difficult, because in the end, this type of love can change a challenging experience into an amazing memory.