I understand now why college seniors talk about feeling anxious prior to heading into the wide world. When I say wide world, I mean exactly that. And beyond that, it’s a wide world filled waist-deep with problems of every kind. From climate change to political gridlock to even financial independence, we are only months away from navigating these issues ourselves. Thankfully, our education here at Harding prepares us to be problem solvers, critical thinkers and team players — all necessary traits for people seeking to make the world a better place.
However, the grocery list of problems out there awaiting solutions can still intimidate us. We are constantly barraged by infographics and articles and rumors reminding us of the many icebergs looming on the horizon. One feels inclined to ask, “How will we ever manage all of these pressing issues?” I believe this is one of Satan’s most effective strategies — keeping our attention on the daunting challenges of life. With this, he can distract us from everything that gives us security in our struggle. However, when we remember that we serve the creator of the universe; that we are surrounded by a global community of believers; and that his son has made us more than conquerors, we realize that our position is one of great strength. Truly, we have much to rejoice about.
In the face of a society that runs on discouragement and pessimism, we are called to rejoice without ceasing. I once read that people who say thank you more frequently are generally happier than those who say it rarely. The reasoning behind this lies in the fact that grateful people are more aware of just how many things they have to be thankful for, and it impacts their contentment. For me, the logic should then follow that people who more regularly take time to celebrate everything that is going well in their lives, communities and the world will see that they truly are blessed.
This year, the SA chose the word “Celebrate” as our theme because it reminds us to look for the bright side in every situation. While it seems like merely a fun or even whimsical concept, I believe it should be regarded as a discipline by followers of Jesus Christ. Paul calls us to rejoice always, regardless of our circumstances. However, up against the negative bias of the world, it can be hard to remember to be joyful people. This is where the beauty of celebration comes in: By regularly celebrating our blessings, we can create a culture of optimism and gratitude. This doesn’t mean we will avoid working to improve the Harding experience. On the contrary, I believe we will be better workers when we are based on a foundation of positivity. Here at Harding, we could hardly have better circumstances for celebrating. While this place and these people are not perfect, they form a community that has impacted us all. And that’s something worth celebrating. To go along with the theme, we are going to highlight people and things across campus that make our community better. Following more advice from Paul, the SA will work to focus on that which is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise. We’ll need everyone’s help to pull this off. If you have a suggestion for a student, member of the faculty, administration or staff who should be celebrated by the entire Harding community, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.