Engagement and Grace

Today, I walked into Marsh Chapel and practiced reading the reflection I wrote for the This I Believe service, where Marsh takes a few members of the graduating class from all around the university and has them reflect on their spiritual journeys. Among us were a wide-variety of different voices, perspectives, and personal narratives.

While these differences contrasted our reflections, there were also resonances between what was said.
We all wrestled throughout our academic journeys
with our place in this universe,
with our sense of God,
and with our sense of vocation.

We all wrestled with the idea of engagement and with the tensions currently facing us around the globe and within our own lives and communities.

In my eyes, this diversity and these resonances reflect the messy beauty that I think underpins this heart in the city that is Marsh Chapel, and it also reflects the wonderful messiness that is Boston University.

I am just a little more than a week away from officially graduating from here, and as I reflect on where I was, where I am, and where I am going in the context of my undergraduate career, two words come to mind: engagement and grace.

The common ground values of Howard Thurman demand engagement with our surrounding world. Holding to these values demand that we, as members of the university community, engage with those around us, with those whom we might call the other, and with those we might not agree. We must engage with the different cultures, contexts, and narratives that exist around our world. In our engagement, we might learn more about this world and – this is especially true – we might learn more about ourselves.

My journey through these last four years has been a journey of grace. I don’t think I’ll ever forget those initial emotions I felt while opening my acceptance letter to this school: at that moment, I felt immediate shock. When I submitted my application, I looked at my own credentials and at the credentials of the incoming class and thought to myself, ‘not a chance, but I’ll submit it anyways.’ The university had such a vibrant spiritual life; they also had a College of Engineering and a School of Theology. I remember thinking, ‘How cool would it be if I was there?’

When I was accepted, the school gave me an opportunity to attend and I immediately enrolled. I visited the school again just to feel what it was like to be there and I kept the hopeful warmth from that visit in my heart as I completed high school.

From that initial moment of grace, I can now trace a long line of people who got me here from all over the university. Throughout my undergraduate career, different people extended their hands to me and helped me along the way. When I was much younger, I never dreamed I could have ended up here. I did not think this future I am now living could have existed. I never thought I could have interned in ministry, or designed circuitry in a lab, or composed prayers to read to others. I never imagined I could have left a splash at all here on campus, and I never believed I could have impacted others in the same ways that people have impacted me.

I never imagined myself going to the School of Theology for graduate studies as it seemed like a distant, impossible, and idealized future. But thanks to the grace of those around me, I am proud to be going there to get my Master of Divinity.

to those I met as an undergraduate student
and wrestled with challenging course material with,
to those I met as a student leader at Orientation
and set the tone of our campus’ culture with,
to those I met as an intern at Marsh Chapel
and engaged in spiritual life at BU with,
to those I met at SojournBU
and wrestled with my spiritual narratives with,
to those I met at EpiscopalBU
and had communion and a meal with,

To those I had the opportunity to share a meal – or a beer – with in conversation,

To those I laughed, danced, explored, inquired, and conversed with,

To those who were there when I needed a hand, an ear, a heart, and a supporting voice,

I say, thank you.

Thank you for the moments you shared with me,

for your impact on my life has been, still is, and always will continue to be

And life-giving.

One Comment

nedayasin posted on June 13, 2023 at 12:13 pm

good job…
It was a good text…

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