Hope College Loses One of its Own
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Hope College Loses One of its Own

Ruth Upadhyaya Teaches us the Gift of Appreciation

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Hope College Loses One of its Own

A part of this grand circle of life is death. Unfortunately, it is inevitable even though we try to escape it sometimes. It is incredibly difficult to talk about bad things that happen to us. No one likes to bring up a topic that pulls people down, however, it is important to talk about them so we can make sense of them.

On March 8th, 2017, Hope College's President John C. Knapp, sent out a mass email to the whole campus, notifying the tragic situation: Ruth Upadhyaya was found dead in her residence hall room. Sources say she was already deceased by the time Campus Safety and Residence Life came to check on her health. Other information is strictly confidential, but what we do know is that Ruth is loved and forever will be loved.

In the fall of 2016, I had the pleasure of meeting Ruth. She was a freshman who stood taller than me (just as anyone else would) and had the sweetest face. As she spent time working and serving food in Phelps, I would have conversations with her. Considering I despise small talk and shallow words, I got to know her a little bit more after every time I saw her. I am completely convinced that she had one of the most beautiful and deep hearts that cared for others and yearned to be understood.

Whatever actually happened to Ruth, we can learn many things from her life. Without stating anything too specific that would suggest one to think that I am speculating on how she passed away, I will stick with a lesson that we can all take away: we need to show appreciation to one another.

There are days that go by with unsaid encouragement. We are quick to keep quiet to share fond comments to people we care about. Why do we stay silent to lifting each other up? Mainly it has to do with pride -- the root of selfishness. When we fail to recognize someone else's greatness, sometimes they feel unimportant and unloved. I am not saying that we should go around spreading random, fake, and unheart-felt compliments just to expect his or her confidence to germinate, nor to say nice things to make yourself feel better, but it's about appreciating someone's existence and letting them know that you mean it. It bothers me when our culture forces us to be solely confined to sharing kindness to one another on special occasions. We post on people's Facebook walls for birthdays and on various manmade Hallmark holidays. Nevertheless, I think that every day of life people should feel appreciated and worth more than gold. After all, our Father loves us more than anyone ever could. So when we don't feel happy, loved, important, or cared for, we have to recognize that lie and contradict it with His Word. There is a Love that we can never ever separate from or avoid. This Love is not like anything you've ever known. Unlike human love, this kind is unconditional. You did nothing to earn it or deserve it, but you get it just because you belong to Him. The coolest thing is that It stays with you forever:

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord [1].

What can we do to show His love? Today, how can we tell someone that we appreciate them? We are in this world together which means it is our duty to care for one another and lift each other up. So don't wait until someone can't hear you to tell them how you feel. I believe that Father's love surpasses all understanding and remains with Ruth and her family forevermore. Please keep them in prayer.


[1] The Holy Bible : King James Version - Romans 8:37-39

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