Standing on the steps of the Michigan Student Union, my life was first changed. It was there that I first fell in love with the idea of serving community, others and even for our country. That was the year where I began to learn about my own Asian American journey and our AA community. It was there that I became angry at the injustices done to ethnic Americans in these United States of America. The next year as a Sophomore, I founded the Asian American Association and began encouraging our members in self expression and to participate in community service and politics on campus and beyond. It was an exciting time to see how my one little life could effect change for our community. I fell in love with service hook line and sinker! Two years later when I began to grow spiritually, I also got involved in making a difference for God and our Asian American student community. It was phenomenal to see how little seeds of service can grow to touch so many’s lives, including my own. God was at work in our community!
As I have recently reflected over my college career, I truly see how God used men like the Kennedys to change my destiny. As the country and the world mourn for the death of the last of the Kennedy brothers, I too have been very affected by this loss. Though I have never met these Kennedys and I have not always agreed with their rhetoric or politics, I have been greatly influenced by them. I indeed have been shaped by their way of life of public service. And for that, I am very grateful! I feel that they were the ones that tilled the soil of my heart and soul for a life of service for God. So, their legacy will continue in my life every time I choose to serve others, serve our community or God’s community. Today, I weep for the joy of a life well lived and for the hope to do the same in my life according to God’s will.
Here is how I hear the Kennedy’s way of thinking in my heart both now and in college:
” Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” President John F. Kennedy said on the steps of the Univ. of Michigan student union.
“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.” Robert Kennedy
“Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills. Yet many of the world’s great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation; a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth; a young woman reclaimed the territory of France; and it was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and the 32 year-old Thomas Jefferson who [pro]claimed that “all men are created equal.”Ted Kennedy’s eulogy at Robert Kennedy’s funeral.
” To whom much is given, much is required” From the Gospel of Luke.
As a Sophomore, I heard the cry to make a difference and that my small life can make a difference for the community. I saw the lack of something and I wanted to alter that sad reality even if no one would join me. As a senior in college, being active in a conservative Christian club was good for my spirituality; but at times offensive for my cultural awareness as an AA. There were times when I would sit at these meetings and wonder if I fit or if I could stand the prejudices of these well meaning Christians. There were times that I wanted to quit. But I think the call of God and the sentiments of these men and others reverberated in my soul to stay. To stay only as a means of changing things for the better for others and for the future. So stay I did. And I am glad for after 26 years I am still serving with that same organization seeking change for the better for God’s community.
I am glad that God made me see that even one life will make a difference and that my life can be a part of changing an organization for good. This is what I carry from these Kennedys that I have never met. It is a sad day in my heart for a piece of my history feels like it is dying. But again I hear these men’s voice booming also in my heart:
“The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.” Ted Kennedy at the DNC 2008. So, I wake up in a new day and I carry the torch to make a difference in this world for God and for the community. I carry on and pass that on as it has been passed on to me by men I have never met.