Thursday, September 6, 2018

Suddenly the heavens opened. It wasn’t just rain, it was heavy torrential rain. I was in the Refectory; I had my suit on. I had a meeting I needed to reach which was in Aspinwall Hall. I considered my options. I thought about asking Facilities to dig a tunnel between the Refectory and Aspinwall Hall. I thought about texting Dave Mutscheller and, in a manifest abuse of power, asking him to drive me across. Then I saw Shawn Evelyn.
He had just walked in with an umbrella. “Ah perfect”, I said, “can I borrow your umbrella?” Over the next few minutes we agonized. How would Shawn get out of the Refectory? How would I get the umbrella back to him? Then finally, Shawn broke the logjam. “Just take it”, he said. “I will be fine.”
So I walked back in the rain; I was on time for my meeting. And I was grateful. It was a simple solution to a problem; but a solution that potentially created a problem for Shawn that he was happy to handle. It was a simple act of kindness – one that I am confident Shawn would have done for anyone (I just happened to be his dean). It was a healthy moment of generosity and trust. It wasn’t dramatic, but it was helpful. Thank you Shawn. And if your want the umbrella back, then do please come and retrieve it.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President

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