The canvas, fresh and bare, stands prepared for — indeed, is destined for — transformation. The artist comes to it with ideas and intentions, and begins to make choices before the work even begins. The work will be an ongoing interaction between the artist, the subject, and the materials, each bringing their own potential and limitations, each playing off the other. In the process, the canvas is changed; the paint is changed; the artist is changed.
Our lives can be likened to a work of art. Some of our life changes are anticipated, like graduation or the birth of a child. Some may come without warning, like the loss of a job or the death of a loved one. We might not be able to anticipate what the finished product of our lives will look like, but we can always know one thing with certainty: Change will happen, and it will transform us.
Undoubtedly, you will encounter change of one sort or another in the coming months. How to experience and respond to that change in meaningful ways is the challenge. We’ve invited professor of sociology and anthropology Jenell Williams Paris to share her perspectives on change from her personal experience as a wife, mother, and educator, as well as from her professional vantage point as a cultural anthropologist who has worked to bring about positive change within communities. Because community is such an important part of coping with changes and making them meaningful, we’ve also included thoughts on change from other members of the Messiah College community. These voices represent the diverse resources from which our own campus community can draw strength in times of change. As an educational community profoundly committed to be a relevant, positive, and transforming influence in the world, Messiah College welcomes, encourages, and embraces change that embodies our core commitments and furthers the mission of the College. It’s these core values, which don’t change, that help guide us through the circumstances that do.
emboldens us to
work toward change that won’t
be completed in our lifetimes.
— Jenell Williams Paris,
professor of sociology