At last, it seems that I’ve come to the year’s final issue of the Record. It seems difficult to believe that it’s been an entire two semesters that I’ve spent pounding away at my keyboard trying in vain to be funny.
In fact, it’s more than the last issue of this esteemed periodical: it is also the final article of my college career. All joking aside (if you can actually believe that), it’s been great. The opportunity and encouragement that I’ve received from all our loyal (and even some not-so-loyal) readers has been, frankly, overwhelming.
Not only are we flattered by your acceptance (or at least begrudging tolerance) week after week (or at least begrudging tolerance), but we are honored to have been part of the Goshen College community. Humor forms an important and integral part of any group of people.
It allows me to remember fondly the things of the past, and poke fun at my present shortcomings. A highly contextual kind of communication, humor also requires at least a basic grounding in the standards and customs of a community.
Knowing what will and what will not work as humor for a group of people is more than just familiarity. It requires some sort of connection at a spiritual level – a connection to the zeitgeist (look it up) of the community. As I graduate and leave this place, I will be sad to see that connection go.
Not all is lost, however. The Record is something of a legacy. People (nerds?) remember the staff and columns of the past. What has come before is just as much a part of the present as what currently is … is.
That last sentence was confusing and perhaps poorly written, but I think the point is a good one.
I also think it’s a good one to remember as we all continue on with our schooling or move on to whatever is after graduation. Whatever you do will affect the rest of the whole. If a butterfly flapping its wings can create a hurricane on the other side of the world, consider the power that each of us has individually. Then consider what we can do when we work together.
To me, the Record is one of these comings-together (yes, I’ll create that new word). The amount of time and effort that gets poured into this document over the course of a year is monumental, and I know that we have done our best to make sure that our hurricanes are ones of truth and joy in a world that’s got more than its fair share of darkness and confusion. In the words of the late humorist Molly Ivins:
“Keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ [it] and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.”
It has been fun. Despite various missed deadlines, inspirationless weeks and the occasional article that just totally flops, there’s no way we could deny that. So if the Record editor asks you to do this next year, you should probably consider accepting. After all, what do you have to lose?
So, dear reader, I come to my conclusion: have a great May Term, a phenomenal summer and the best rest-of-your-life ever. Be joyful, flexible and ready to be surprised, because nobody but God knows what’s coming next.