Here is a lesson and a presumptuous one at that. It is based on a single sentence, one that occurred in very specific circumstances but that has stayed with me over the over years. I recall it in times of trouble. Since that is what we now have, a time of trouble, I thought I would share this.
Years ago – oh so many years ago – I worked at a place called The American University of Sharjah. Sharjah is near Dubai, but in those days Dubai was not yet Dubai. It was mostly an idea, an idea and a whole lot of construction. I used to think the national vehicle was the backhoe.
AUS was just in its second year of operation. It too was mostly an idea. Every building was under construction. The streets were still being laid out. The very grass itself, this being the desert, was also under construction.
Well, I arrived there as a group of several dozen new faculty. No one knew where anything was. There were no signs or markers to indicate the function of a building. We were lost on our own campus.
On the first day of faculty orientation, we all somehow located the main auditorium for a college wide meeting. After that, we broke into our individual departments. First task: go to your building and claim your office.
So, a small group of us set out for a short hike across campus aiming for a target that we could not identify. Our Dean was with us and I thought I would earn some points by being supportive. Here is what I said: “Well Dean, at least we will all be lost together.”
The Dean did not like this sentiment. He corrected me. “No, Magee: we will all find our way together.”
So, that is it, just that one sentence. We will all find our way together. I have thought of it many times over the years. I am certainly thinking about it these days.
I look forward to seeing you all after this is over, after we find our way.