We were asked many years ago by those far off to post summaries of GASP meetings so the extended community could stay in touch with us. I am always happy to do so, and we do feel the connection in so many ways with GASPers with us in spirit, and that connection means a lot. But I lack the skill to adequately describe in these posts the powerful magic of what happens at GASP; these descriptions are just the bones. I can’t explain the magic, but we have come to recognize that a core ingredient of it is the commitment to conversation. Hierarchy orders and commands, directs and controls, operating out of fear and a need for power. A real community like GASP listens, and tries to understand. Because I am at heart a man of unclean lips, I am always surprised by just how powerful that is.
Thirty-five gathered last night to rage and mourn and support and understand and celebrate and cry. There are those in our community who are feeling under attack because, well, they are under attack. We sat with them last night, we stand with them going forward. There is much that is out of our control, but we can bear witness, and we will. At the same time we are beginning to see just the tips of a possible new way – the result of the courage and honesty and simple humanity shared regularly by GASPers on campus, and that has initiated a cultural transformation that began with the student body, but has already had an effect on some at the highest levels. Some may be surprised that it is the young people who consistently demonstrate the patience and the faith to take the seemingly longer and slower path of conversation, rather than discharging their frustration in more confrontational actions – those would be they who have not known the magic of this community. We will wait for a time, and pray, and listen, and tell our stories. We will also be watching.
Last night too we shared such news that not long ago we could only have dreamed of – one of our GASPers who has been with us the longest, and done so much to sustain us, is getting married to his boyfriend! May they both live long, and prosper.
We bid au revoir, but not good bye, to another of our long-time GASPers, who it seems only yesterday was just a little girl but has long ago grown into a wise and strong adult who has provided a large part of our backbone, and is shipping out soon for basic training in the United States Marine Corps. We will be posting her mailing address on the GASP FB as soon as it is available – send her many cards and letters frequently.
We also welcomed our new GASP President, who will lead us for the 2015-16 academic year – the fabulous Amy Rivas! She has worked closely in support of President Nathan this year, and is perfectly suited to take us on the next leg of the journey.
Our next meeting will be in three weeks (not two), so we can get back on schedule. Our annual “Last Gasp” will be Wednesday, May 27 (Week 9 of the Quarter) – this has become one of our most cherished rituals, and is an opportunity for graduating seniors of all flavors who have experienced GASP as an important part of their experience at PUC to share a little bit about what it has meant to them. It is a special meeting – if at all possible we hope you will be able to join us for that. We will also meet during Dead Week – just informally with food and maybe some videos, to give students who are studying for Finals a chance to relieve some stress.