Sandy McDonald Davis serves on Grand Council as the International Vice President of Organizational Relations. She came home to Alpha Delta Pi at Xi-Ohio University. She works for Cisco Systems as a Global Account Manager and lives in Dayton, OH, with her husband and two sons.
Every year during Leadership Seminar or Grand Convention, we gather on Sunday morning to start the day with a devotional. This past week, I had the opportunity to lead this service and share my thoughts on what it means to “Be a Light.” Many sisters asked me for a copy of the devotional, so I decided to share via the Alpha Delta Pi blog. I hope you enjoy this excerpt!
June 26, 2016 Devotional
As most of you know, Alpha Delta Pi was founded by six young women at Wesleyan College on Thursday, May 15, 1851. Those six friends had to wait all day until after the 5:00 bell rang, and then they ran to Eugenia’s room to get the beautiful blue ribbons with “Adelphean” and “We Live for Each Other” written on them by Octavia. They proudly fastened them to their dresses and then walked across campus, causing quite a fluster of excitement.
As was her custom, Eugenia recorded the day’s events in her little book. She wrote, “Today has truly been a wonderful day to remember. For today, at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, the first college for women, we have founded the society that we have been planning for so long. The Adelphean Society.” And as she wrote, the candle by her side burned with a steady glow.
I just love that story and I love the thought of Eugenia writing in her diary and that candle flickering light across the pages and casting shadows across the ceiling of the room. But, if you really think about it, that candle was not the only light in that room – because Eugenia was there. Eugenia was a woman who could light up a room. She did it with intelligence, loyalty, bravery, and her sense of fun.
So, I ask you sisters – does the room light up when you enter it or does it light up because you leave?
Now, I am sure we can all think of people who make the room a better place when they leave it. They leave and take their general dissatisfaction or their negative thoughts or just general unhappiness with them. And the room brightens right back up. But I don’t want to talk about those people because they get way too much attention. I want to talk about the power of being a light and how much the world needs it.
First, find your inner light. Lighting up a room you walk into takes self-confidence. It’s not false pride or arrogance, but it is simply knowing your self worth. It’s knowing how you best operate, understanding how you deal with adversity, and how you react to different situations. It is truly knowing yourself and valuing everything that is special about you. It’s finding those things – big and small- that you are passionate about. Finding those things that make your heart happy. Because when that happens, you radiate an undefinable energy – a true light from within. Don’t be afraid to let yours shine.
Next, reflect the light. As Alpha Delta Pi’s, we have learned our motto “We Live for Each Other.” We’ve shared our favorite sections of the Creed of Alpha Delta Pi. We’ve participated in various ceremonies, repeating the exact ritual of our founding sisters. We each have the opportunity to reflect to the world what it means to live for each other, what it means when we say “I Believe in Alpha Delta Pi” through our actions and interactions. People can look at you and see what Alpha Delta Pi stands for when you reflect the light and the true meaning of our ritual.
And one of my favorites: Light a spark in others. Remember the words from the song Pass it On. “It only takes a spark, to get a friendship going and soon all those around will warm up in it’s glowing.” I tell chapter leaders this all of the time; never underestimate the power of a kind word of encouragement. Younger chapter sisters look up to you; they watch you as a leader and they think about what it might be like to be a chapter president or a recruitment VP. Encourage them, and build leadership within your chapter. They need to hear that a bright light like you believes in them. For our volunteers, you model the behavior that we want to see in our chapters. Mentor a sister, encourage them, and be there for them. Your continued involvement and positive influence not only lights a spark – it has the capability to set off fireworks. Remember that helping someone else to shine does not diminish your own shine. And, of course, we can’t limit this to just Alpha Delta Pi- everybody needs a kind word, a thank you, a smile. That’s lighting a spark.
Finally, keep your light shining bright. It’s a tough job being bright. As leaders, we tend to give and give and give. But, in order to keep your light shining bright, you need to also recharge. Self care and taking time for yourself and doing something just for you are of the utmost importance. Many of us will be flying home this afternoon and the flight attendant always says to put the oxygen mask on yourself first so that you can properly take care of others. Find your oxygen mask – whether that is going to the spa, drinking coffee on your front porch in the solitude of the morning (like I like to do), scrap booking, or starting your day with exercise. Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat well, and make healthy choices. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Keep your own light shining bright.
Take a moment to reflect.
- Inner light: Think about something that makes you special, that you’re passionate about and that brings you joy.
- Reflecting light: Think about one action you can take that will reflect our motto or creed to the world.
- Creating a spark: Think of one person that you will encourage and lift up with a kind word.
- Recharge your light: Make a commitment to do something only for yourself and think about what that is.
Before we close with a prayer, let’s spend a minute in quiet reflection.
Lord, thank you for the blessings you’ve bestowed on Alpha Delta Pi. We are grateful for the time together at Leadership Seminar to learn, to grow, to laugh and to renew friendships. We ask that you watch over our sisters as they travel back home later today and that you guide us all to be the light in the room. Amen.