As of a week ago, it gets dark at 4:45 here in Spokane. By the time you receive this, we'll have little or no daylight left at 4:15 p.m. We're plunging into the dark days of winter in the Inland Northwest, and despite the fact that I enjoy much about the quiet, cold, gloomy season in this part of the world, I'm still looking for warmth and light throughout those sometimes bitter, always short days.
Those of us who work at Whitworth, and, I'd wager, those who work at most universities, can be grateful that the time of the year when the darkness and the cold are closing in is also the time of the year when things on campus get pretty exciting. Our athletes are out tearing up the Northwest Conference, our music groups are presenting fall concerts and preparing for Christmas events, our theatre troupes are wrapping up their fall presentation, and our faculty and students are wearing themselves to the very nub pulling together the learning of the fall semester and – in the case of students – registering for spring (can you believe that Commencement Weekend is just five months away?). Each will be more than ready for Christmas Break, when they can kick back, eat themselves silly, see their friends, watch a little football, hang out with their sisters and brothers, and be something other than full-time students for a few weeks. (I imagine that most faculty and staff are looking forward to sharing some of those off-the-clock pastimes, as well.)
But while we're here, and while we're immersed in the first half of Academic Year 2015-16, we seek the light and warmth in other ways. We look for racial reconciliation and peace in a new program, #whitworthunited, that, among other things, brings speakers, performers, and programs to our campus; we visit the new fire pit, in front of the HUB, for physical warmth and fellowship and for a few brief moments in the now-neglected and nippy outdoors; we bask in the glow of worship during community chapel, Hosanna, and AWAKE, sharing with other community members the desires of our hearts and the depth of our faith; we stand in line at the bus stop, hugging our jackets to us as we head off to volunteer as a part of Whitworth Serves. (And when we get to our destination and see the light in the eyes of those who've been waiting for us, we can't help but bask in that glow.) We are bathed in beauty and talent and love and warmth even as we shiver our way down the Hello Walk or, heaven forbid, feel the icicles forming on our noses as we make a quick cross-campus jaunt to McEachran or ride our bikes from class to class.
Both you and I know how this place makes its way into our hearts. What an important part of our lives Whitworth has been and is, and what a welcoming and nurturing home it has become for so many. In this season of "the dark November [and early December] of our souls," as we anticipate the arrival of the one who brings us light and warmth and hope and love, we at Whitworth wish you peace and goodwill. I hope you enjoy this issue of Whitworth Today.