Today I had coffee with Molly.
I met Molly 6 years ago when she walked into my 3D Design class as a freshman. It was one of those moments when you meet someone and in the first 30 seconds, you know you want to be around them as much as possible. Molly brings an energy into a room with her that creates a gravitational pull in her direction. Beyond that energy, she threw herself wholeheartedly into every class, every project with ambition and drive. She always brought the rest of the class up because they were all trying to mirror her energy.
I'm told that I'm hard to read in that first class. That semester is always a bit odd as students try to figure out what my faces mean and why I'm smiling. Molly had a bit of that but it didn't stop her from initiating conversations with me in class about various debatable topics. I'm certain we debated the existence of gravity and the mysteries of Bigfoot. And when we did, it always appeared that Molly was much more interested in learning about me than she was about solving those mysteries. That was the thing with Molly. She was always out to learn about other people. She had a genuine interest in them and she was full of questions designed to bring the truest nature of that person to the surface. She had a way of pulling back the curtain without making the other person feeling exposed. She would ask questions and then listen, really listen. Not just to the words, she was listening for truth.
Luckily for me, Molly excelled in sculpture and took several of my classes over her 4 years. Each time it was a joy to have her in class and help to guide her toward her goals. Most days when she would leave class she would stop and say "Thank you" before exiting the room. Can you imagine? That's the kind of person she is. Her sculptures were always exceptional and there was never any doubt she was bound for grad school and greater things.
After graduation, she took a couple of years off of school to work at a cool coastal camp for kids. She did a summer residency in sculpture at a prestigious school and I expect she'll get several acceptance letters in the mail in the near future to begin the next phase of her education.
Today we were able to set aside some time to catch up in person so she drove to campus and we chatted at Starbucks. She is so generous with her energy that we invited two current students to join us as she shared about her experience with the residency program and told us stories about wrangling alligators at camp. I think those two students enjoyed it just as much as I did. I mean, you can't sit with Molly and not go away changed for the better.
The thing that became really obvious to me today is that Molly does everything that she does with intentionality. She considers her actions and interactions and plans them based on how she can impact the people around her. As she told us stories today, it was easy to trace her movements by how she could offer something to the others in the stories. She actively seeks to show love to people through actions. It's really an amazing thing that I wish wasn't so rare. I wish I was more like her.
We should all have friends that make us want to up our game. We should surround ourselves with people that inspire us to be better humans.
It's easy to get cynical and think that everyone is selfish. It's easy to think that seeing a truly kind and generous person is as likely as seeing Bigfoot.
As I write this, Zeke is snoring beside me on the couch and Bigfoot is peering just over the top edge of my Macbook. Bigfoot is in the large photo on canvas on the wall across from me. It's a photo of a Bigfoot statue taken at the alien welcome center in Colorado. Molly took this photo and I was able to snag it from her in a trade when she graduated. It is a fitting reminder to be more like Molly. To up my game and to be a better human.