Getting What I Need

Many students were disappointed when they couldn't get tickets for the Dalai Lama. Here Marissa Minnick grapples with her own response to it and what that means for her.

"I believe it was the Dalai Lama who said, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you just might find you get what you need.” (Or perhaps it was His Holiness Mick Jagger, but let's not nitpick...)

A couple of weeks ago, SCU students received an email from the President’s Office that the Dalai Lama himself was going to be speaking at the Leavey Center, and that there were going to be 1,000 free tickets reserved for students, staff, and administration.  I was over the moon.  I was so excited that one of the most important spiritual leaders in the world was going to bless our campus with his presence and share with us his words of wisdom.  I have always been inspired by the Dalai Lama’s statements concerning peace, being conscious of the poor, and promoting understanding between different religions.  You could definitely say that I’m part of the fan club.  I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a ticket that I knew in my heart would inevitably go to me, right?

The day that the 1,000 free tickets were going to be released, I went to the library and sat at two computers, had as many browsers open as possible, and had my smart phone ready to go.  As the clock ticked closer to noon, though, the room I was in started to fill with other students, all of whom I didn’t recognize, and they opened the webpage up as well.  For the first time, I realized that this wasn’t going to be as easy as I had thought.  But still, I believed that if I just logged onto the page exactly at noon, I would get one.  As soon as it hit 12:00 on my phone, I began; I logged onto the pages, typed in the numbers, selected the 1 ticket.  I was home free.  And then the page froze.  Just stopped.  No movement, no ability to click.  And as positive as I had been before noon, I felt all hope begin to drain away.  My heart sank, my stomach physically became sick.  I tried and tried for 20 minutes, but nothing.  And then I got the message I feared most.  “THERE ARE NO LONGER TICKETS AVAILABLE.”

“No, no, no, no,” I thought to myself.  “This cannot be happening.  I barely got any sleep last night because I was so excited to get my ticket.  I set three alarms on my phone so I wouldn’t forget.  This isn’t real.”

It was real, though.  I didn’t get my ticket.  And I was devastated.

I made a deal with myself I was going to give myself one day to be angry.  And so I did.

I was angry as I heard one of my classmates say, “Yeah, I just was gonna give it try and I got one.  I’m not even really sure what the big deal of having him here is.”

I was angry as I thought about the time I and others had put into Campus Ministry’s Interfaith Council during the past three years, and how the Dalai Lama’s visit related so much to this work.

I was angry that the computer system had crashed.

I was angry at the school because they seemed to be so insensitive to the feelings of those who had not received tickets.

I was angry that I couldn’t afford to buy one of the tickets on sale to the general public the next week.

But most of all, I was angry because I felt that I, me, Marissa Minnick, had deserved one of the tickets.  And I hadn’t gotten what I thought I deserved.

It isn’t easy to hear platitudes whose ultimate message is “life isn’t fair.”  I’ve heard that a million times during my life, yet it is always sentiment that hard to accept.  But it is a lesson that has been ringing true in the past few days.  And so, I must strive to live as Christ would.

Instead of being angry that I personally did not get a ticket, I will express the excitement I feel for my friends and fellow students who did, because the happiness of my brothers and sisters does ultimately bring me happiness.

Instead of dwelling on the times that I have been excluded at Santa Clara, including numerous jobs, internships, and classes, I will instead focus on the incredible opportunities I have had, including studying abroad in Italy, getting a world class education, and getting to travel around the Bay Area with friends.

Instead of blaming the university, I will celebrate the hard work that those in the administration have done to bring the Dalai Lama here, and understand that our school does not usually host a person of this importance, therefore it is a new experience for those who work here as well as students.

Instead of holding cynicism and anger, I will focus on finding inner peace, something that not only the Dalai Lama teaches, but also my heros like Saint Francis and Desmond Tutu.

To be honest, despite the positive outlook I am working on, I know that it is going to extremely difficult on the day the Dalai Lama comes to speak.  But at the same time, I know that missing the Dalai Lama’s talk in person is not the be all, end all of my life.  Perspective on that day will be vital.  And I pray every day that I will have the strength to put all into perspective.

As of right now, I know that I can’t always get what I want.  But perhaps if I try this time, I might just find I get what I need."

Marissa is a senior English and Women's and Gender Studies double major.  She hopes to complete a year of service after she graduates from SCU.
love,forgiveness,inner peace,Dalai Lama,prayer