Aging, change and renewal; life is grand

7/26/07


So much to say, and so little space…

I just returned from an Ender family reunion - where four generations met, played, cried, laughed and loved one another - to Cumberland County College, which is undergoing a process of aging, change and renewal. I couldn’t help but feel the similarity of the two, and their profound impact on me.

Seeing the Ender clan - my mother, now a great-grandmother nearing the end of her life, to the youngest of my nephew’s children, an infant just beginning to crawl – was, in a moment, a lens into a family’s world. Seeing buildings on our campus, past their useful life, being opened up, refurbished and brought into the 21st century provides a lens into an institution’s history.

Both the Ender family and the college are experiencing profound and lasting change. The brothers and sisters are getting “old,” and we are renewed by the youngsters that represent us so well. The college’s facilities as we have known them for so many years are going or gone. And they are being replaced by new buildings and facilities, ready to serve as an outstanding learning environment for future generations of students.

The point is that it happens fast. Not when you’re in the middle of it, but when you are quietly standing on the side observing mother, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. It happens when you are on the edge of campus looking at new or refurbished buildings, appreciating all the energy that existed over the years in them and all the energy that will come again in the fall.

My lesson for the summer is to take a moment to be an observer. Life happens so fast. So finding a way to see the spectrum of life, in a moment of peace, is a great gift. I received the greatest gift of all this summer when I paused and reflected on the process of aging, change and renewal. Life is grand!

Enjoy your summer.