Thursday, March 25, 2010

This could be the year

Wonder how long it would take to walk four miles? The annual May Day 4-mile Run/Cabin Walk is about 6 weeks away – May 8. I’m half tempted to register for the “run” but actually power walk it.

Having worked behind the scenes for the run in years past, I’m always amazed how many people come out on a Saturday morning to run four miles. There are alumni, current students, graduating students, incoming students, faculty/staff, children, community members who like to run… It’s quite a unique gathering of people with ages ranging from 10 and under to 70 and over.

The reasons they come out are as varied as the people; to stay in shape, to get in shape, to prove they can do it, to socialize, to reunite…

A few years ago a 5k walk was added as an option to the 4-mile run. Courses were set up through the Nature Preserve (complete with a refreshment stop at the College Cabin) and through town (to accommodate those pushing strollers.) The walk is not timed. It is purely for enjoyment. The first year the walk was included, I was surprised the number of young alumni pushing strollers, chatting and completely enjoying themselves.

This year the walking course has been changed so that it it’s less than 5K; hence the new name – the Cabin Walk. But it is still a great opportunity for spending time with friends in a low-stress environment.

Myself, I’d rather be timed; to know how long it took me to officially power walk four miles, then to compare that to next year’s time. Looking at last year’s times, the highest was just over 60 minutes. My best time in a 5k run/walk (3.1 miles) is 43 minutes and some. So, in theory, I could do this and not hold up the schedule.
2010 t-shirt design
What do you say? Want to join me? I won’t hold it against you if you actually run and beat me!

Preregistration is available online, with reduced early registration fees and t-shirts available if you sign up before April 23.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A story that needs telling

It’s a heart-wrenching story. But it’s a story that must be told. It’s a story that puts a very human face on what is often discussed in impersonal terms: immigration, illegals, border, them, us, ours.

Enrique’s Journey is the story of a young Honduran boy who traveled to the U.S., mostly on top of trains, to find his mother who had migrated North to find work years before. This book was required reading for Bluffton first-year students and for seniors in the Capstone course.

Now alumni, parents and friends are invited to join with Bluffton students, faculty and staff for a discussion of Enrique’s Journey with author Sonia Nazario at 11 a.m. April 7.

Just having read the prologue, I am so intrigued. It’s going to be one of those books that I won’t be able to put down once started. It tells of the desperation mothers feel to justify leaving their children to find work in order to support their children and the abandonment children feel without their mother’s presence.

Lazario wrote in the prologue, “Latina migrants ultimately pay a steep price for coming to the United States. They lose their children’s love… People are losing what they value most.”

It would be a great story if it was fiction. The bond of a mother and son and the lengths they go to show that love, the intrigue and danger encountered on top the “Train of Death,” the kindness of strangers along the way.

Unfortunately it’s not fiction. It is all too real. And it is an important part of the “immigration issue” which should not be overlooked.

Join us for the book discussion on April 7, either in person or online.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Seven more Mondays!

Would you believe that Bluffton’s seniors only have seven more Mondays until graduation? (Eight weeks minus the Easter Monday break)

Depending on your viewpoint, that’s either cause for great celebration – or great anguish.

I posted on Facebook a few days ago about how the time between spring break and graduation becomes a mad sprint to the finish line. I’m sure we can all list projects which ‘must be done’ this spring. If we let it, those lists can become overwhelming. It can block our view of the emerging beauty around us.

Bluffton’s campus is gorgeous in all seasons, if we slow down enough to enjoy the view. Daffodils are starting to show signs of life in the flower beds across campus and I’d totally missed them until a colleague drew them to my attention.

Students will be back on campus Monday. I am so looking forward to the sounds of spring - the radio playing from the ball diamonds during pre-game, the distinctive thump of tennis ball golf - with any luck those sounds will pull me away from my lists and remind me to take time to “smell the roses.”

Here’s hoping that you do the same.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thanking God for His Faithfulness

Students, faculty and staff mark the third anniversary
March 2.

For those affiliated with Bluffton University in 2007 – March 2 will never be just another day. I know when I turn the calendar to March 2, there’s heaviness in my heart even though I didn’t personally know anybody on the baseball bus when the accident happened. I still remember exactly what I was doing when hearing about the accident (cleaning the stove on a random vacation day taken to play “domestic goddess.”)

From the chatter on Facebook and Twitter this morning – many of you feel the same way. “03.02.07...never forgotten....” “Thinking about baseball players in busses today.” “Proud of all of the 2007 baseball men.. 3.2.07, never forgotten” and more.

It’s hard to believe, but the first-year students in 2007 are now seniors. Approximately ¾ of Bluffton’s current student body were not Bluffton students when the accident happened. They weren’t on campus to share in the grief, nor to experience the outpouring of support.

It was that outpouring of support that sustained the players and coaches on the 2007 team, the friends and family of Zachary Arend, David Betts, Scott Harmon, Cody Holp and Tyler Williams and the entire campus community through that spring and beyond.

Campus pastor Tig Intagliata led a litany based on the 23rd Psalm today at the Circle of Remembrance. Two stanzas in particular from the reading grabbed my attention:

I will fear no evil. For you are with me.
Even when we have not been able to feel your presence, you have been by our side holding on to us, carrying us through the deepest valleys of darkness.
We find courage in the midst of our fear because we know you are with us. We can face the future with hope, knowing that we do not have to face it alone.

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
We thank you for our families, friends and strangers who have reached out to us and comforted us with your love and kindness.

Let us pray that in time March 2 will become a day, yes to acknowledge our loss and our experiences, but also a day to give thanks for God’s faithfulness and comfort.