Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Smiles Volume 6

Now that I am back home and learning what my new normal will be like, 
I am beginning to feel the bittersweet-ness of closing a lengthy and familiar chapter in my life. I love Notre Dame for all that it was meant to be, is for me, and can be in the future. I would be remiss if I ended my student career at Notre Dame without a post dedicated to one of my favorite campus features.
So without further adieu, I give you:

The Benches of Notre Dame

As you tour the campus of Notre Dame, you will notice the Golden Dome, the basilica's spire, the attention to architecture in many of the buildings, the height of the stadium, the solemnness of the memorials, the statues and modern art between buildings, the mosaic on the library, and the prayerful of devotional places. The beauty of these features rightfully grabs you.
But what you might not notice on campus is the little details and the multitude of benches accenting the pathways and buildings.

These benches captivate me.

I realize the novelty of a place to sit is not that exciting, but the thought of what could happen when someone sits there can occupy the imagination for hours. So many different people have sat on these benches at various stages in their lives.Just the knowledge of how many moments have occurred is enthralling. Each bench has a story for which it is merely a backdrop, but still integrally important. Professors have taught students. Friends have chatted into the wee morning hours. Kisses have been stolen. Men have knelt on one knee before them. Children have dreamed of pirate ships. Prayers have been said. And the universe has been contemplated.

Other stories connected to the benches are of the names inscribed on them. Many of them posses a nameplate and each offers a tiny glimpse into the story of so many lives. Dedications of friendships. In memoriam of fallen soldiers. Honoring professors and club presidents. Love notes of sweethearts. In thanksgiving for blessings of life.

Each time I sit on the bench I take a moment to read the names it holds. I often wonder about the people mentioned, what their story is and why it compelled them to immortalize it. I have a deep desire to know those stories and the stories of others that took place on the spot.

I know my own stories that take place on those benches. Small and insignificant in some ways, but stories that are woven into my life and cannot be replaced. One bench has always stood out in those memories. Oddly, most of the moments were ones of solitude. It sits by the reflecting pool outside the library. From it you can see bits of the landmarks on campus: the stadium, Dome, and Basilica. My sophomore year I would sit and read between classes, as it marked the halfway point between the buildings. I would read and watch my professor walk to class, and then my classmates. Other days it was a remote spot to run away from the studies in the library and talk on the phone or just be for a minute.

I do not know the story behind the bench, someday I hope to know. For now; however, it is just a little part of mine.

For some reason I cannot seem to find my pictures of benches free of snow. 
Trust me, they are pretty then too.
Because the ultimate cure for the Monday blues is 
something that will make you smile and grateful for what you have.  
These things make me smile and hopefully they will make you smile too.
What makes you smile today?

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