I recently counted the number of Alumni Weekend and Homecoming reunions that I have organized, overseen, and celebrated with you: 30 weekends welcoming you back to campus; 30 weekends greeting and encouraging you when you mark milestone reunions; 30 weekends of conversations with alumni ages 27 through 97. It is a privilege to live in this history book called the Wheaton College Alumni Association!
Here is something I have noticed: 5-, 10-, and 15-year reunion conversations often focus on jobs, kids, and the busyness of life in the early years after graduation. But conversations change a bit around the 20- and 25-year reunions: alumni begin to share the painful realities of divorce, sick and dying parents, children who choose self-destructive paths, debilitating illnesses, and job losses. Despite the difficult journeys, there is usually a common refrain: life is hard but God is good.
A highlight of every Homecoming celebration is Chapel. This year, Lisa Brosious Beamer ’91 spoke on behalf of her 25th reunion class and shared her story. Every Wheaton alumnus/a knows about Todd Beamer ’91 and his tragic death on September 11, 2001. Lisa and Todd’s eldest, David, is a freshman at Wheaton this year. Here is part of her talk:
“I can’t begin to predict what the next 25 years will hold for me or for you or for any of my classmates celebrating our 25th reunion this weekend. There will surely be great joys and great sorrows, days of peace and days of turmoil, long lives and lives cut short, clear paths and murky journeys. In fact, most of us will know all these extremes and every one of us will be called to minister to people whose stories stretch the gamut. But we are not anxious and we are not proud, we are confident because we serve a God whose promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace purified seven times over, a God who can stand up to our questions, who is strong in our weakness and who inexplicably and eternally opts to bridge the chasm between human and divine with Love.”
Our web team has posted several years of Homecoming Chapels at wheaton.edu/homecomingchapels and I hope you will take time to watch and be encouraged by these stories.
May the faithfulness of our almighty God be unmistakable in your life today.