There are many things I have come to love about Berry over the last four years, but one of the things that I love most is how it promotes finding ways to improve the lives of those around us. Last night, our team was honored to receive one of the coveted Heart of Berry Awards "in recognition of invaluable contributions to the campus and community, for our support of cancer awareness and research, and for continuously embodying the Berry College motto, 'Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.'" We received the beautiful plaque pictured above as well as a very nice certificate to commemorate the honor. Quite honestly, we could not have been more surprised by the honor, as I don't think any of us feel like we have done anything out of the ordinary or above and beyond what we are all called to do. In fact, we often talk about wanting to find more ways to give back. However, I find myself this morning being very grateful not just for the recognition but for being part of an institution that places value on service. This also led me to reflect on many things over the last few months that have reminded me of "the big picture."
Every player who we have recruited to Berry College has heard me talk about how we want our program to be about life lessons (quickly followed by the assertion that you would be hard pressed to find anyone more competitive than me!). In the heat of the competition, when we are dealing with injuries or conflict, or when challenges present themselves, we sometimes get caught up in the moment. However, it is my hope that our values and guiding principles shine through, especially in those moments. Fortunately, I always have some great reminders of that "big picture," our alumnae! A few months ago, I got a call from a recent alumna letting me know she would be in town and hoping we could get together for coffee. As we caught up over coffee the next day, our conversation quickly turned to some of her current struggles, and I was touched that she sincerely wanted my thoughts and advice on the topic. About a month later, I had the pleasure of catching up with two of our alumnae while I was on the recruiting trail and they were coaching their club teams. Aside from talking to them about their lives and coaching, the highlight of my weekend was watching them on the sidelines. The passion with which they were helping their teams pursue excellence, the way in which they continuously supported their players, and their composure in the moment were all great reminders to me of "the big picture." Over our spring break, our family had a chance to spend some time with Mickey and friends at Disney. However, the friend that was the highlight of the trip was another alumna who chose to spend her two days off that week hanging out with us. Just this past week, a simple "Happy Birthday" text to an alumna that I had not talked to in a while turned into a great text conversation. While she reported how much she misses playing and misses being part of our team, she was also able to report on all of her current successes. I wouldn't trade any of these moments for the world, and they make all of the daily struggles, conflicts, and challenges worth it ten times over.
So, for today, I have definitely been reminded of Berry's charge to us...we are "not to be ministered unto, but to minister." After all, that IS the "the big picture"!