It has been almost a month since the priest rubbed ashes on our foreheads to remind us that we are here to seek God’s will. I felt energized, committed and ready to do as Pope Francis instructed:  to recognize others as “gifts” and “to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord”.

However, my initial energy has dulled.  A friend showed up at my door needing to talk. I saw his visit as a nuisance. I received an invitation to a party, but the anxiety of adding another task to the calendar led me to decline.

Although it is important to balance our busy lives, will I remember that Christ calls us to be with others?  If I see others as gifts, then accepting invitations and being present will draw us together, and to God. But how can I see others as gifts—not in spite of the fact that I am busy, anxious, or distracted, but because I am busy, anxious, and distracted?

—Jerry Kinney, a 1995 Prep alumnus, teaches Spanish and directs the Operation Others initiative at Creighton Prep, Omaha NE.