In December of 2012, I graduated from college.
Over the past year or two, my alma mater, Cedarville University, has experienced a great deal of change. Change that has been welcomingly embraced. Change that has been outrageously abhorred. Change that has completely altered the face of the school.
This change has created a wild outcry from students, faculty, and alumni alike. Honestly, I don’t blame them. When I first heard of some of the changes, I couldn’t even believe it. It wasn’t that the changes themselves were all that shocking. We all had to know that Cedarville was built on conservative principles and the board of trustees would eventually become concerned about the direction the school was heading. What was truly shocking was how it all happened at once. Everything. Administration gone. Majors, classes removed. Theological principles changed. Codes of conduct altered. I felt like the university, from which I had just graduated, had punched me in the face. And all I could be left asking was, “Where did that come from?”
Today, as I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, I saw post after post about Cedarville and it’s descent into conservative desolation. I sighed. My school, my community, has a devisive crack and people, my friends, are lining up on either side. I feel distant, trapped on a high cliff, watching the crack splinter and grow. I stand mute.
Now, it must be said that I struggle with perspective.
I struggle to see situations and circumstances from other people’s point of view. Over and over again in life we are told to “step into someone else’s shoes,” feel what they are feeling. If we can do that, suddenly we are supposed to be able to empathize with them – no longer feel angry, bitter, or frustrated.
Well, I suck at that. When I am angry, I often get so caught up in how I am feeling that I forget to think about how the situation could be entirely different through another’s eyes. I forget that the world doesn’t see everything like I do. I forget that I could be…wrong. Or that what I am feeling could be actually rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
Today, though, I read something that stopped me in my tracks. It made me stop and reevaluate my perspective on the changes at Cedarville.
Trending in the little sidebar on my Facebook newsfeed were the words, “Cairo University: Students try to tear off women’s clothes.”
Those words alone made me stop and shudder, not because I was shocked, but because I wasn’t. My time in the Middle East taught me how tangible the idea of a woman being openly abused or harassed is. I wasn’t shocked by the words on my newsfeed, but I was fixated on the word “university”.
It was in this moment that I gained a brief glimpse of clarity. Here I was so frustrated, bitter, and angry at my university for the derision it had caused, when half a world away women were being abused on another school campus. This time it was as if Cairo University had punched me in the face. And all I could be left asking was, “Who am I to complain?”
I do not write this to belittle Cedarville University, the outcry against Cedarville, or any outlying persons. I write this to give a brief pause from the anger, from the sadness, and from the fear of change. We are a community, despite massive changes in theology and opinions, and we should be incredibly grateful for the ability we have to disagree, learn, and change.
But, hey, that’s just my perspective.
Do you ever find it difficult to change your perspective? Leave a comment below.