Even as a veteran Beach Reacher, walking the sands at Rockstar Beach intimidated me. Women danced all around. Rap music blared from the speakers on my right. A cloud of smoke drifted by as I made my way through the crowd of strangers. I felt out of my element, but I did not venture to South Padre Island for the purpose of remaining comfortable. I refocused my mind and pressed on.
I walked the shoreline seeking opportunities for conversation. Fixed atop crude PVC contraptions, collegiate flags flew high above the crowd. My eyes scanned the horizon, and I noticed various clusters of students. I wandered over to a Harvard flag and watched its bearer jam the makeshift pole into the ground. I sprung into action and quickly helped form a mound of sand. My participation was not discouraged, but rather welcomed by the group. We soon finished fortifying the base of the pole and reveled in our accomplishment. I smiled and introduced myself to the guy standing closest to me.
Jack began telling me about his life. He explained the difficulties of being a student athlete at an Ivy League university. On top of early-morning workouts with his teammates, he maintained a full course load, while pursuing his engineering endeavors. He described his passion for improving agricultural practices and explained the latest aerial imaging technologies. The dialogue eventually shifted to deeper topics involving personal anxieties and family matters. As the discussion concluded, I prayed for Jack and his loved ones back in Alabama.
What began as a simple gesture quickly evolved into a half-hour of meaningful conversation.
If you see two friends taking selfies, offer to photograph them together. If you see someone struggling with a heavy load, offer to lighten his burden. If you see an incredible tattoo, do not hesitate to provide a compliment. You never know how God might use the smallest of actions.
Matthew Jerome is a student at Texas A&M University.