Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A place in the sun

In the early-morning sun I'm sitting in one of the brand-new Adirondack chairs on the lawn in front of the administration building, two chairs in the school's colors--navy blue and white--but I pick the blue chair because I'm wearing blue and I want to be invisible. It doesn't work: everyone who walks by wants to ask about the chairs.

The chairs have been here just a few days and we've been encouraged to try them out, but very few actually sit down in them. A colleague stops to chat but I can't look in his direction because the sun is shining right in my face, so he moves to stand between me and the sun and give my eyes a break. Then others stop and soon we're taking turns trying the chairs, two of us standing where we can keep the sun out of our colleagues' eyes. Sometimes that's what collegiality means: shielding our colleagues from the bright morning sun.

Later we walk around campus, nine of us, stopping to put our hands on each building and share in a word of prayer--for the building, the people who work there, the students, and the campus as a whole. It's an eclectic group of (mostly) faculty, representing different departments and disciplines and even different understandings of faith. Will prayer help? It's helping me, and sometimes that's what collegiality means: coming together to serve as a conduit for good on campus.

Next it's time for the annual fall convocation, our new president's first opportunity to address all the faculty, staff, and administration and set the tone for the new year. Last year's meeting was a horror show, full of wretched news about budget problems and staff cuts, with little hope on offer; this morning was a whole different story, full of laughter and excitement about how we'll get through our difficulties and come out the other side better, faster, stronger. 

They made me believe. The future's so bright we're gonna need shades! (Or helpful colleagues willing to stand in the light to shield our eyes.) 

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