Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A transfer of spirit

The inevitable rows of photos of Virginia Tech victims are starting to appear. In the text and narrations we learn of talent, virtue, ambition and promise taken—of futures snuffed out.

Each of us grieve the loss in our own way. But my grief has jogged me into realizing how rarely in the course of our lives we stop and allow ourselves to feel grief's opposite—celebration and joy about those around us still in the very fullness of life.

I walked onto the Sylvania campus of Portland Community College on Tuesday feeling ever so slightly anxious, as if this community were just a little more vulnerable to a perverse madness.

But in my class, I scanned the faces of my own students with renewed appreciation. I saw in them much of what I witness in those portraits in the media. I saw in my students the same promise and the goodness that was lost in Blacksburg. In my classroom and on the PCC campus, thankfully, all are very much alive and safe—still brimming with promise.

Certainly with time, an antidote to our grief over terrible loss can be a celebration and nurturing of life and all it offers us in our time.

I’d like to think that the spirit and promise of the Virginia Tech victims are not gone but instilled now in us, the living—that they inspire us to flourish in, share and celebrate the virtues and talents we have been granted in this life.

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