"And the Child Grew and Became Strong; He was Filled with Wisdom, and the Spirit of God was Upon Him" Luke 2:40

JTB: Teddy must have had a sleepless night! Facebook indicates that Teddy made an entry on his wall entitled, "Ode to DePere" at 3:13 AM. I remember when Teddy first uttered these words just over a year ago. In fact, Teddy presented at two different Common Prayers during his senior year at SNC. When some people may have thought that he only expressed himself on the baseball diamond at Mel Nicks Field, he would remind us at Old Saint Joe's that "still waters certainly run deep. "

Unfortunately, Teddy and I have not connected as much as I'd like -- time, distance and graduate school seems to do that, you know; but I'm happy to read that he must still be thinking of us. Until Teddy and I re-connect, I offer his heartfelt reflection here. Not only does this serve as a great reminder of that sacred hour on Wednesday morning in May, 2007, but I know his wisdom will be valuable for those new, first year students who will be joining us in a couple of weeks.

Teddy Fleming, thanks for the memories!

My final year at St. Norbert College I was asked to speak at the first ever senior-led Common Prayer one Wednesday in early 2007. The theme was "Faces of Change" and we were asked to reflect on how our experience at school had changed us. We were then asked to reflect on how we would use that change, quoting Ghandi, "to be the change we wished to see in the world."

Here is what I had to say:

When I got bored Monday night with looking at a blank screen on my computer I called home, of course, to tell my parents about this little talk, what it was about, and to maybe get some advice on where to go with it. When I asked my dad how he thought I’ve changed in my four years at St Norbert all he replied with was,

“You’re taller.”

Once he got his laugh in he did give me a pretty good piece of advice. He told me that the worst thing in the world to do is to turn a reflection into a speech, because then you’re not telling people how you feel or what you’re thinking. This, of course, posed an obvious problem for me because I’m still waiting for my first original thought.

The more I thought about it the more I realized that I can’t really tell you or anyone how I have changed. Dad was right, I am a bit taller, and the freshman fifteen is nothing compared to the four year forty. But was there anything more than what is just skin deep worth talking about.

Mom said that the little picture I had when I got here has become so much bigger, and so much clearer, "You see things differently, and because of it are now a worldlier and gentler person. You get it,” she said in that mom voice that makes anyone think they actually do have it all figured out.

I came here four years ago with this opinion of what college was supposed to be. I came here thinking college was simply a vehicle to get me to the next step. I figured that I can go to school for four years, get a degree, maybe go to grad school and then dive right into the real world.

St Norbert College proved to be so much more than just means to an end, and it has taken me four years to finally figure that out. I could have gone anywhere, gotten a degree in anything but what this place has done was show me what I truly did not know – not just sociological theory, psychological principles, or statistics that I will never understand. College is supposed to make us think, and not just about answers on a test. This place is what college is supposed to be, an eye opener.

I had the privilege this past winter to lead some of the finest young men St Norbert has ever seen on a service trip to Philadelphia – one in which we assisted at a homeless shelter for men in the city. The experience I had that week and the thoughts and reflections that I came back with are very much like those I have after four years here.

No matter where one goes to school, one can get an education, but here they can get an education of what is out there in which we can be involved in. Any other school may teach you any business, but only at a place like this can we be taught life.

I have been instilled with the knowledge that there is so much more to this life than just me - this is how I have changed. It’s that there is so much more going on everywhere around us and you and I should be involved in it.

I may not have changed specifically, but now I have such a stronger understanding and awareness for all things that are broken and what you and I can do to fix them. I appreciate everything I have, everything that others do not, and how I can work to bridge that gap. So have I changed? I suppose the answer would be yes, because maybe now I can do something.

My dad is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and he was telling me that they have never put the years on the class rings. They do this because it does not matter what year you were there, what matters is that you are now part of that family.

Much like my father did at Notre Dame some thirty years ago, I did not simply come to St Norbert and go to college, I became part of a community. I am not part of the class of 2007, a class distant from the class of 2006 or 2100 – I am part of the St Norbert family.

Whether it be the Holy Cross Fathers of Notre Dame or the Norbertines here in De Pere, they all quietly show us that there is a world out there that I, that we, need to be a part of, that we need to help, and that we need to love.

As I look back on my four years and think how and what I would change – I realize that I have not loved enough. And even when I am convinced that I am ready to move on, that fact alone is what reminds me of how ready I am not to leave. So as I leave you here today with a mere two weeks before I leave you here for good, I ask you to let change in.

Everyone around you, everything here for you - do not hesitate to be a part of it; do not hesitate to leave here a different person than the one that came; and do not hesitate to love more than you ever thought you could – because where there is love, there is life.

So as we have heard today, be the change you wish to see in the world – because as Emerson said, “This time, like all times, is a very good one – if we but know what to do with it. "


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