We Belong to Each Other: A Dean’s Reflection

On most days, my hourly hallway walk-throughs consist of finding unattended books, a forgotten Gatorade bottle, a black tie and the occasional student rushing to avoid being late to class. On this particular day, however, I was reminded of one of the many foundational elements that keep Verbum Dei’s ground sacred; I was reminded that we belong to one another.  As I walked through the brisk morning breeze from the parking lot to the main office, I came across one of our students walking slowly towards the Multi-Purpose Room to check in before going to his CWSP internship. His gentle steps and observant glances to his surroundings communicated a peace that is not often found in the middle of midterm week. More importantly, amidst his methodical pace the student’s eyes met two slowly moving snails who were on a mission to cross the sidewalk. In a predictable fashion, the student skipped over the snails but suddenly his steps came to a halt. The Verb freshmen turned around and proceeded to picking up each snail and placing it on a long leaf next to the sidewalk. My jaw dropped.

Perhaps what I witnessed was an isolated act of kindness, or an effort to impress the adult who was watching. However, given that his warm Verb hoodie blocked his periphery, I choose to believe that what I witnessed was a Verb gentleman acknowledging that all life is sacred. The hustle and bustle of reaching our destination is often all we need to forget the pivotal role we play in each other’s lives. Meeting a deadline, running late, or feeling discomfort are all things that can very easily gear us away from being a loving and helpful presence along the path of someone else’s journey.

I continue to be humbled by the hearts that walk our halls. While the gesture of picking up a snail and placing it on a safer path may not make our website’s front page, it does speak to the ethos that permeates Verbum Dei. If this act is any indication of the type of college students and professionals our young men will be, then I say we should look at the future with optimism. I am an educator, but on this day, I was taught the lesson.

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