Sunday, April 22, 2007

Reflections on Virgina Tech

Since we have been gone for the last couple days in Chicago, I haven't had a chance to transcribe my thoughts about Virgina Tech. This journal was written in the car after arriving an hour early to the last of my blitz krieg of interviews in the beginning of the week. It was good to take some time and reflect on the changes that had been happening over the last couple days. More about the trip to Chicago soon.

Last night I participated in a vigil at Trinity Christian College with my RA sister and close to, if not more than 100 other Trinity students. It was a striking experience for me, recalling a time just over five years ago where as an RA, I also had to lend support and sympathy and be a strength for people at TCC. It was 9-11-2001. As I looked across the circle of faces in the courtyard last night, though--dimly lit by torches and other (all too-breakable) tea light holders, I saw some familiar faces--now in positions of leadership at Trinity, and some faces that seemed familiar, until I realized that the people I was thinking of had graduated years before. Regardless, the continuity was striking. Where my peers had taken roles of leadership, so did these current college students step naturally into those roles. I was reminded of the French saying that I had read only that afternoon: Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same).

By catching a glimpse of continuity at my alma mater, I was overwhelmed with a sense of time's cyclicality. Though we often use a linear model of time, that seems to me, quite a human and rational imposition on reality. Nature moves in cycles. The seasons, the days, the very sphericalness of our earth, connote a cyclical understanding that what has come before will come again, though we might be in a different place, and see a different perspective on it. This metaphor also made me think of the labyrinth experience at the most recent ICS retreat. In my constant circling around, I gained a sense that I had been in this spot already, though it was already a ways down the path (if it was stretched out linearly). The power of the cyclical metaphor also translates well to Buddhist mysticism that Mike introduced to me. He said that Buddhists see life as on a wheel. There are people hanging on to the outside, desperate to stay connected, always in danger of falling off. There are also people who sit peacefully in the center, as the good and bad pass through them. What a powerful image for me as I stood in the center of the labyrinth circle and once again in the Trinity circle, surrounded by people that were seeking that inner peace in the face of a tragedy.

Continuity and change--what powerful human concepts. Our ability to pick them out is striking and profound, and so very human. Maybe our human linear understanding does help us project into the future... By realizing how tragedies like what happened this week in Virgina share with other prior tragedies, we can make a commitment to change the future. By realizing our responsibility for building community instead of isolating people, we can see ourselves as quite a ways down the path, though it may not seem so very different, after all.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Important! Short! Pleae Read!

This is Mike again--but I promise that this time I won't go into an angst-filled soliloquy. Really.

Basically, this is just a feeler relating to our plans for the near future. Since we are heading back to the states, we will most likely jump back on the cellphone train and ride it into the sunset. But we are up in the air about which company to sign on with. That is where you, dear friends, come in. If you anticipate or want to talk to us on a semi-regular basis without eating up your minutes or waiting ever so impatiently for 9 pm to roll around, let us know your wireless carrier. Or, if your wireless carrier is rubbish and you are going to switch as soon as that 50 year contract you signed runs out, warn us.

I'm gonna tag some people on facebook; if I don't tag you it's probably because I know your carrier. Or I forgot. Or I don't like you. So take a hint.