Tropical Carillon

Just moments before chapel was dismissed, I got up from my desk and closed the door to my office in Miami, Florida.  That was, perhaps, one of my wiser decisions that day at work.  That day, one of my recurring thoughts was how grateful I was that my office at work was very private.  I was sending and receiving updates and thoughts via text message, cell phone calls and emails.  I tried very hard to keep all of my OneWheaton activity that morning as incognito as possible, not wanting to call attention to the fact that I was enormously distracted from my work.  Also, in my private pod in Coral Gables, I was living with a broad universe of emotions and I really needed the privacy.

All morning people were also posting updates on our private Facebook page. I kept checking the time waiting for the moment of the letter drop and for the website to go live.

As I sat back at my desk something very curious happened.  The carillon of the local university began to chime, and it began to chime at the very same time that chapel was letting out on the campus of Wheaton College.  Here I was, 1400 miles south of Wheaton, Illinois, with my auditory senses using the local university’s carillon to call up the memory of the chapel chimes at Wheaton College.  I was transported in spirit to the space in front of Edman Chapel where my brothers and sisters were about to give of themselves in a generous act of love.

I then hit refresh on one of my browsers and the OneWheaton website was live!  Immediately I burst into tears.  The lived idea of OneWheaton was now real and manifest.  This collective expression of love was communicated visibly.  We had all birthed a miracle.  I sat at my desk sobbing, enveloped in love for all of these amazing people who had united to be a formidable force of healing, peace, grace and love.

Soon pictures started appearing on our Facebook group and in my smart phone.  I received text updates from the folks on Wheaton’s campus and I was elated.  To this day I am completely in awe that our community is scattered literally all over the world and yet we are united by a common thread of consciousness and purpose.  And, it was that purpose — memorialized in our mission statement — that we were all living out that day.

As the hours passed by and more and more people emailed us, wanting to sign our letter. I became overwhelmed with the realization that I, too, was surrounded by love; that all of these people, gay, straight, bi, and ally, didn’t hate me.  They were actually supporting me, supporting us.  It was amazing.

– José, ’89


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