To Everything…

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven

A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

A time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to love,and a time to hate

an time of war;

and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3.1-8

You were given a gift today. A very big, important gift that directly affects you and everyone you know. We all have been given this gift, every last one of us, over and over again. We have all been given this gift every single day of our lives.

This is the gift of life.

The gift of breath. The ability to love. Laugh. Cry. Learn. Grow. The gift of friendship. We have all been given a chance, once again, to live our lives.

We started this school year much the same way we started last year. A year ago, our nation was divided into subcultures and ethnic backgrounds.

We all came to school last fall, not yet with our American flags waving, but with flags proudly displaying our country of origin.

Our worries were with cell phones and rush week; making money and getting promotions. We wanted to get ahead of the game, becoming the best of the best, without giving a second thought.

Our world was one filled with hatred, deceit, selfishness and self love. We were hardened by our own barriers. We were also attacked because of them.

September 11, 2001 – A day of infamy. Our buildings were attacked, our homeland was attacked, our own barriers were attacked.

We were finally forced to look outside ourselves, break down our barriers, and get to the core of our humanity. Suddenly, out of an act of terror – a world of love, hope, selflessness, and reassurance emerged.

I’ve witnessed a metamorphosis of the community here at St. John’s. Simple things, like people holding doors for others, and a willingness to smile to one another. An openness that was simply not here before.

We have joined together, bound by the need to feel a part of one another, bound by the need to comfort, and to be comforted.

Let us never forget this. Let us never fall back into the daily routine of distrust, dislike, and disconcern.

We start this new school year with the wonder and mystery that always surrounds something new. I can only hope that as members of the St. Johns community, and above all else, Americans, can embrace our brave new world filled with life and hope.

Although our days are slowly returning back into normal, I implore you to never forget the need for one another. Remember every day to love, laugh, and forgive. To live.

Go into this new year with no regrets. Put aside any ill feelings, take a deep breath and put everything into perspective.

College is a time for growth; a transitition from childhood to the real world. It is a time for discovery and dissapointment, and most importantly, a time to learn.

Approach every day with a new resolve to live life to the fullest, never letting go the lessons we have learned. Get involved on campus. Make new friends. Cherish the friends you have. Talk to strangers. Smile at each other.

Never forget what happened last fall. And never forget the amazing gift we have been given. Celebrate and be thankful for every single day. Its an amazing time to be alive.

Amanda Weekes the newly elected Editor in Chief of The TORCH. A junior in the College of Professional Studies, she is majoring in journalism. She loves to hear feedback, so feel free to talk to her