Benediction: With Gratitude and Love

sign on campus

The idea of a “benediction” at the end of the magazine was mine. We wanted to show how studying at Fuller results in “acts that speak the good word.” This, my last story for the magazine, starts with my failure to do that.

For a decade or so, I have been prompted to walk the Pasadena campus and pray for Fuller. I’ve done it no more than a dozen times. My mother, Bette, may her memory be for a blessing, did it often in the early days of my 17 years working here. Then, when walking became too much, she prayed faithfully until, a decade or so ago, she fell asleep. You won’t believe this, but I only just now realize the significance of how that timing lines up. Sigh.

On the afternoon of attending my last Board of Trustees Zoom meeting, I drove to Fuller to walk and pray the Jesus Prayer: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I felt the instant relief of obedience as I walked familiar grounds with an unfamiliar appearance: COVID deserted—dust piling up in building corners, spiderwebs in desk drawers, musty offices empty of life.

Prompted by this issue’s focus on migration, I’ve thought about spaces that people are urged to leave—whether under duress from the pandemic, fear for their lives due to political violence, or the glow of dreams for their children. Even for less dramatic reasons—like those of us whose time at Fuller is ending because of budgetary realities—leaving places that hold the memories of our lives jars loose our fantasies of control, stability, and permanence. We, too, are dust, the campus reminded me that day, and to dust we will return. And yet.

As my visits increased, at the end of the Jesus prayer I’ve spoken the name of anyone that comes to mind, the Spirit filling in the blanks. I’ve done as my mother was led to do—“speak their names before the throne”: senior leaders, beloved coworkers, Lucky Boy employees, strangers I pass in the quad. Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on Ted Cosse. Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on BJ O’Halloran. Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on Chantelle Gibbs. Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on that little boy on the scooter. The campus also prompts random names from the past: Ray Anderson, Fred Davison, Drea Gacs, Bill Pannell, TJ Lee, Martin Scorsese. A rush of memories appears to create a perfect introvert’s going-away party—everyone I can think of shows up!

I am filled with love for all the people that Fuller has given me occasion to know. As my colleague, and this magazine’s managing editor, Tamara Johnston wrote at the beginning of this issue (p. 5), we leave with hearts full of gratitude and love—and much confidence in FULLER magazine’s next editor in chief, Jerome Blanco, and senior editor, Joy Netanya Thompson. You’re in good hands, dear reader. Bless you.

Lauralee (2018 headshot)

Lauralee Farrer, Editor in Chief, Chief Storyteller, and VP of Communications

The idea of a “benediction” at the end of the magazine was mine. We wanted to show how studying at Fuller results in “acts that speak the good word.” This, my last story for the magazine, starts with my failure to do that.

For a decade or so, I have been prompted to walk the Pasadena campus and pray for Fuller. I’ve done it no more than a dozen times. My mother, Bette, may her memory be for a blessing, did it often in the early days of my 17 years working here. Then, when walking became too much, she prayed faithfully until, a decade or so ago, she fell asleep. You won’t believe this, but I only just now realize the significance of how that timing lines up. Sigh.

On the afternoon of attending my last Board of Trustees Zoom meeting, I drove to Fuller to walk and pray the Jesus Prayer: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I felt the instant relief of obedience as I walked familiar grounds with an unfamiliar appearance: COVID deserted—dust piling up in building corners, spiderwebs in desk drawers, musty offices empty of life.

Prompted by this issue’s focus on migration, I’ve thought about spaces that people are urged to leave—whether under duress from the pandemic, fear for their lives due to political violence, or the glow of dreams for their children. Even for less dramatic reasons—like those of us whose time at Fuller is ending because of budgetary realities—leaving places that hold the memories of our lives jars loose our fantasies of control, stability, and permanence. We, too, are dust, the campus reminded me that day, and to dust we will return. And yet.

As my visits increased, at the end of the Jesus prayer I’ve spoken the name of anyone that comes to mind, the Spirit filling in the blanks. I’ve done as my mother was led to do—“speak their names before the throne”: senior leaders, beloved coworkers, Lucky Boy employees, strangers I pass in the quad. Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on Ted Cosse. Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on BJ O’Halloran. Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on Chantelle Gibbs. Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on that little boy on the scooter. The campus also prompts random names from the past: Ray Anderson, Fred Davison, Drea Gacs, Bill Pannell, TJ Lee, Martin Scorsese. A rush of memories appears to create a perfect introvert’s going-away party—everyone I can think of shows up!

I am filled with love for all the people that Fuller has given me occasion to know. As my colleague, and this magazine’s managing editor, Tamara Johnston wrote at the beginning of this issue (p. 5), we leave with hearts full of gratitude and love—and much confidence in FULLER magazine’s next editor in chief, Jerome Blanco, and senior editor, Joy Netanya Thompson. You’re in good hands, dear reader. Bless you.

Written By

Lauralee Farrer, Editor in Chief, Chief Storyteller, and VP of Communications

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