Parting words for an imperfect community
In saying goodbye, one expresses affection, well-wishes and an intent to return. When I tell my roommate and my close friends goodbye in a few weeks, at least, that’s how I will do it: “I love you, I hope the best for you and I hope I see you again soon.” I have been at a loss for words lately to express what leaving Xavier means to me, so I hope that this reduction will suffice.
I cannot in good conscience say that I love Xavier. I am rather fed up on a regular basis with the state of affairs at this university. I don’t believe the institution of Xavier is sufficiently fulfilling its vocation as a Catholic university. Do I expect it to be perfect? Absolutely not. But I think Xavier can do better, a lot better than 31 3D printers and halfhearted support for service learning programs both in Cincinnati and in foreign countries.
However, I do very much love my friends. I doubt some of you could have put up with me without a touch of God’s grace, especially when I was a freshman and a sophomore. Thank you for directing me to the most important things in life and to the good life itself. I would not have faith in God or the Church were it not for you, whether you offered me words of wisdom or deserving critiques.
I love my education, both in the classroom and out, especially what I have learned through my work at The Newswire. The Newswire has given me the invaluable gift of constant exercises in writing, which has greatly improved my prose inside and outside these pages. Writing has been a privilege and a pleasure, even when I am past my deadlines.
So, I hope the best for you, Xavier. If I criticize you, it is not because I want this place to shut down (except on my most cynical days). I want Xavier to flourish in a real and serious way and to actively take a role in building the kingdom of God, not just a watered- down liberal version of it. And I hope the best for you, my friends. You need no advice from me. I do hope that I will see most of you again at some point, even Xavier. If I return here at some point as a professor, I don’t expect it to have changed too much.
Sure, maybe there will be some more sidewalks and more classroom space, but some things will stay the same. The Jesuits will still be doing their work, quietly laboring to build the kingdom of God before our eyes — and starting all over every four years. And the philosophy department, which has given me the tools I need, will still be trying to get undergrads to understand Descartes, but not to accept him. Actually, it would be best if we firmly rejected him. But as for me, I have many miles to walk this summer and much work to do in the years to come. AMDG
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