An enchanting space

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Oct 17, 2017

By Connie Chan

When the first phase of the Wycliffe courtyard renovation was completed two months ago, I took curious glances at it from the windows, from outside looking in - or inside (of the building) looking out, depending on your perspective. Work was busy at the time, and the thought of sitting leisurely in this cosy garden did not cross my mind. It was only when it was suggested to me that I could write a blog post about the experience of doing so, that I finally entertained the idea of experiencing the space for myself first hand.

It was a pleasant afternoon. As soon as I sat down on a bench in the courtyard, I was mesmerized. The combination of the golden afternoon sun, the gentle autumn breeze and the soft sounds of the water fountain, made me forget about my endless to-do list. The urgency of everything I needed to accomplish that day seemed to evaporate into thin air as I absorbed the beauty of this place, a place that’s been intentionally landscaped to allow for quiet meditation for students and residents. It was a refreshing moment - a reminder that I was a human being above a human doing, and that it’s good to step away from the tendency to prioritize “getting stuff done” over paying attention to beautiful things around me.

I recalled then a favourite quote of mine by Victor Hugo: “The beautiful is as useful as the useful. ... perhaps more so.” While work and study are instrumental to personal formation and flourishing, the need for rest, reflection, and immersing oneself in the beauty of nature seems to me to be embedded in our DNA. Designs of human dwellings and landscapes often reflect such a vision and longing for beauty on the part of the architects and their inhabitants. 

I know I’ll continue to enjoy this enchanting courtyard. I hope that other Wycliffe students and residents will, likewise, find it to be a sanctuary in the midst of their journeys, as they face all kinds of intellectual gymnastics, ministerial challenges, and life responsibilities. May it have a very special place in their experience of the College, among all of the other wonderful spaces and corners here that have been lovingly crafted and diligently stewarded for the blessings of many generations at Wycliffe.

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Connie Chan works as Communications Coordinator at Wycliffe College and is a part-time student in the MTS program.