Last year was my first at Redeemer, and a group of Residence Advisors included me in the tradition. Before I knew it, I was up to my knees in mud. Something so messy represented a beautiful thing to me: community. Energized students jumped in, while others stood to consider whether or not it is an activity in which want to be a part . A group of student leaders and staff demonstrated the tug-of-war to show how enjoyable the experience can be. Regardless of the path that each person took to get to the mud the impact was the same. We were covered. Laughter and cheering filled the mud pit as more people dove in. How we got into the mud was not as significant as being in there.
As we prepare for the school year, I find myself asking the questions:
What is community?
What should it look like?
Why does it matter?
Community is invitational. After having the activity modeled, launch teams were encouraged to participate, but the choice to get muddy was one that each person made for themselves. This year, you are invited to let yourself be known and loved and to know and love others. You will be encouraged to take risks, get involved in various activities and dive into holistic development. Through conversations around the dinner table, adventures in learning to cook, worship sessions, dorm devotions, spontaneous games nights and runs to Tim Horton’s, I hope that you find yourself learning from the opportunities that you choose to be part of.
Be who you are. Community takes a different shape every year, because the people who compose it change and each person can contribute to what will become. Each of you will bring a different personality, set of gifts, interests and life story. You will ask different questions, study a cross section of academic disciplines and have diverse dreams for your life. Offer who you are and leave your mark.
Community is transformative. I walked out of the mud pit and began the journey back to my home. Everything that I touched, stepped on or came up against gave evidence that I had been in the mud. If you allow it to, community will leave a mark on your life. We walk away from our time on campus positioned to influence and impact others. As the mud pit is one part of the Redeemer experience that serves as a conversation point and memory for months to come, I hope and pray that your time in residence will fill you with memories, moments of learning and allow you to grow in your understanding of God, self and world.
Whether you’re counting down the days until you can move on campus or are questioning what it is you’ve just signed up for, you’re not alone. Times of transition often feel a bit messy, but rest assured, a beautiful community is waiting for you to join in. I am excited to welcome you to your new home on September 2. See you in the mud pit!