Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I struggled to stay awake this afternoon, the candy wrappers piled in my trashcan like translucent leaves, covering a couple of Dr. Pepper cans. No, this was not a day of health consciousness, I must confess.
A student came in to see one of my fellow counselors--a straggler. He's still trying to register even though technically it was all over last week. I felt bad for him; his dragons have held on, unyielding, each one dying harder than the last. A missing document, a lost loan application, a denial, a delay. When he left, my coworker and I had a conversation about the direction of higher education, the way it's getting more expensive at private institutions, and the tension between the ideals we try to represent and the financial facts behind running a good university.
There's nothing for it. As an institution of higher learning seeking to hold to ideals, you must bend and break at times, sacrificing one ideal for another. And meanwhile, as workerbees, we employees somehow try to build bridges to the sacrifices "they" have made, trying to show a face, but to represent a name.
Perhaps it's not the institution that is the lengthened shadow of one man, as Emerson put it. Even so, a shadow stretches from some unknown figure, clouding heaven and obscuring our view of God's arm.
Take heart, friends; the dark may well be the shadow of the Almighty.

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