Saturday, March 21, 2020

Message From a College President

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

The president of Macalester College (St. Paul) is known on campus among students as PBR. He sent the following note to students, staff and faculty on Friday. I share it with you, folks I'm concerned about.

To the Macalester Community,

In moments of crisis, stress, and isolation, it is important to pause, breathe, and draw strength from things of beauty.  This message contains no instructions or warnings or new information.  It contains a poem that, I hope, brings to some of you the moment of peace that it brought to me. I am grateful to the Macalester parent who brought it to my attention.

Share it with someone you love.



What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

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