Monday, May 10, 2010

Tamed, thanks to Hillsdale College

Dr. Jackson's 2010 Spring Convocation speech. It was so incredible, I'm glad the college has shared it. The actual speech starts around 8 minutes, but before that is a healthy dose of Larry P. Arnn and lots of Hillsdale-ness. Hilarious, insightful, heart-warming and wrenching, and absolutely glorious. Thank you, Dr. Jackson.

For those who know me especially well, you must know how much I enjoyed this speech, with my pre-occupation with suffering, humanity, and the logos which binds man to man, man to God. I think a recognition of the necessity of suffering is the first essential step of what it means to be human and to know God through suffering. Christ suffered to pay for our sins, and so our suffering is only meant to bring us closer to Him.

There is a healthy aspect of suffering which is not apparent, nor flaunted, or even exposed. It understands Death, accepts loss, cultivates friendships and relationships with an understanding that they may not last or stay the same--and that they should never stay the same. Life is not meant to be stagnant. As Whittaker Chambers wrote, one must understand that life is pain, and that each of us hangs upon a cross of ourselves.

It would be melodramatic of me to say I am suffering in any tangible way, but I expose a little part of me and admit I grieve a loss of being at the physical college and the opportunities there to partake in fun, fellowship and non-coercive suffering brought on by long nights of studying and too many cups of coffee. Perhaps not yet--I am too happy to be home, with my parents, siblings, cousins and extended family and of course, my dear dog Heidi. But even this is coming to an end. My mother and I go to Columbus on Thursday to look for apartments. Then again, I shouldn't mind ends--"to make an end is to make a beginning" said Eliot. The brimming possibility excites and saddens me, but always in a joy-filled, for the glory of God way (ad maiorem dei gloriam!). After all, it is His will be done, not mine.

This is my first post after graduation, but I can't quite comment on that yet. My last evening in Hillsdale included a wonderful dinner with the Siegels, in which they gave me a little photo album of pictures from the past 3 1/2 years of knowing them; the nicest card; Gretchen made me a story book; Benedict colored me a picture. Prof. Siegel was my American Heritage teacher freshman year. I walked into his office and asked how I could get an 'A' in his class. He said most people got Bs and Cs. I said Okay; so how do I get an A? We've gotten along swimmingly since then (even though I got an A-, which was still the second highest grade in both sections overall).

The Siegels are another family to me. I have been blessed with so many families taking me under their wing and pseudo-adopting me, but my relationship with this devout and soccer-obsessed family is one never to leave me and always to affect me. Their love sustained me during dark days of college, and embedded joy for all the rest. When my Dad said he was worn out after entertaining Jerome during dinner, I smiled and said I could take care of all five and found it pure bliss. Nothing says I love you like letting five children turn you into a human jungle gym, playing soccer and reading stories, helping them cut their food, say their prayers and brush their teeth, and entwining your life with theirs. Of all my happy moments at the college, the Siegels encapsulate a sizable chunk.

The Chamber Choir singing at Spring Convocation, for those seeking goodness and beauty:

And for those seeking truth-- from the 1853 cornerstone of Central Hall: "May earth be better and heaven be richer because of the life and labor of Hillsdale College."

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