Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mud and Daffoldils

Walking around the campus of Big Old Seminary today, I squished through some mud heading for the library. Out of the corner of my eye I saw two daffodils, the first ones I've spotted this season. It was colder today, after a few days of downright summery weather, and I was shivering in my light jacket. The daffodils, so rich a shade of yellow against the green and brown, warmed me a bit.

That bit of warmth was a needful thing. Today we got word of some of the people on staff who have been told their jobs are being eliminated. One is a mentor and dear friend, another an admirable staff person who always answers our silly questions with gentle grace. I don't know who the others are yet. No matter. It hurts losing any member of the BOS family.

The Dean met with the community this afternoon. A couple of things struck me about that meeting. First, people are hurt and angry, as anyone would be at the loss of a dear family member. Second, I suspect the Board pressed the Dean hard for this solution, and it was not his first choice. Third, because he was willing to stand in front of the community and answer questions, he bore the brunt of the anger and pain.

I am not sure that the choice that the Board and the Dean made was the right one. Some elements of the plan seem to be wrongheaded in tone if not in result. Time will tell. Nevertheless, the decision has been made, and it seems better to expend our energy on helping those who have lost their jobs and praying for the future of the institution than on banging on the one person in the leadership who was willing to face us.

It puts an ugly punctuation mark at the end of my time at seminary, but it is reflective of the larger world.

It would be nicer to have to tread through less mud right now, and see more lovely daffodils waving their yellow faces in the breeze. But I guess we're still in mud season here, whatever the temperature, and all we can do is to pray for warmth and sunlight and flowers, not just for us, but for a troubled world.


Rev Dr Mom said...

Yes, that is so hard. The year after I graduated, a wonderful prof (and the only one nontenured at the time) was let go in the same sort of move. It was really bad on so many levels.

We really need to get people to step up and support the seminaries!!!!

David said...

It's a bad time and a hard place to see things like RIFs happen. I'm sorry for your loss, the seminary's, and mine too. The faculty intro during the COM open house was my favorite part of the weekend, and the BOS's biggest selling point. Go ahead - splash through the mud, but always look for those daffodils and the life they proclaim. Peace.