Jay De Man

floor visioning

I live with a beautiful group of people. 

Nestled in van Reken Hall, the Honors living-learning community exists to explore the role of academia in our individual lives and within community. Far from impersonal, I can attest to the friendliness and authenticity in the lives of these attentive people. Many interests, disciplines and passions come together in a kaleidoscope of interactions. Having taken a few weeks to settle in, our RAs directed us west. 

A few of van Reken's finest.

A few of van Reken's finest.

Westward we went! Last weekend, we journeyed to the shore. In the throes of a fiercely windy day, wide Lake Michigan beckoned with merry waves. We gathered a little distance away from the breezy shore to pursue something both simple and difficult. The activity was called floor visioning. Our work for the day was to say, “These are the sorts of things we want to be true for the place we share together.” 

At first blush, this sounded like an exceedingly boring way to spend such a beautiful day. In the glare of the high sun, I wanted to stand at the tops of the dunes and feel the air. I wanted to be with my new friends, not to make rules with them. 

It was hard to give my attention to the activity, but when I did, I found a wonderful thing in it, a thing not at all incompatible with the glorious day. 

Lake Michigan. Isn't she lovely? 

Lake Michigan. Isn't she lovely? 

Living with direction requires bounds in which to do it, and I saw as we gave our thoughts toward hospitality, accommodation and study there emerged a best way to do it. I love what happened as this community rose to the occasion. We asked from each other critique as well as encouragement and agreed with one another on how best to respect our interests, quirks and preferences. Together we painted a picture of the sort of place we wanted to live: a place of focus, conversation and sharing together in every struggle and happiness.

The excellence of the day then seemed a source of inspiration. In the goodness of it, we found our own hope for personal goodness drawn out. It is good to strike while the iron is hot, and strike we did.