I never expected to come to St. Thomas and be surprised. I thought I had it basically figured out: St. Thomas’ programs are strong, I got a scholarship and the campus is ideal. So I came, and I was blown away by all of the pure talent surrounding me. And it definitely was ALL around me.
For instance, I joined Liturgical Choir and was shocked at how many strong singers were in my midst on Tuesdays and Thursdays (I can’t decide if basses or tenors are better …). In the past semester and a half, I’ve collaborated with classmates on speeches and philosophical arguments, wanting to stop several times in the middle of the process to give them a high-five or simply bask in their smartness. Back when it was warm (sigh), I saw people playing Frisbee and football on the quad like it was their last chance to ever play again. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed quite so many risky scoops and dives resulting in brilliant catches. I have listened to professors talk, and could do so forever, solely based on their knowledge, charisma and passion. I go out with the Swing Dancing Club and have fun just watching others confidently trying difficult spins and aerials, gaining skill and grace.
I was reminded in another way of how gifted St. Thomas is when I went to the recent Luke Spehar concert on campus. I first witnessed him play at the Catholic Studies talent show and have wanted more of his music ever since. When I found out he was debuting his second CD, I was so there! Luke’s life has to be completely surprising to him. He questioned his way into faith, felt a calling to the seminary, discerned out in his fourth year, spent the next summer just driving and doing concerts wherever he could, and is now back working on a Catholic Studies degree. And yet, because of all of it, his singing and storytelling are better than ever. He’s taken his God-given talent and put it to use in a risky, challenging and beautiful way.
Seeing Luke in concert made me really want to do my best both developing my own talents and appreciating others’. No, I probably won’t be stopping my teammates in the midst of a project, or (loudly) cheering after a death-defying play on the quad. However, I will be thanking God for all He has blessed St. Thomas with and praying for it all to be used for His glory.