How We Belong
If you are fortunate enough, you can call more than one place home. Many of us make meaning in our families near and far. We find our true selves in new and lifelong friendships. Our purpose is defined in our places of worship. And our rootedness is revealed in the ways in which we serve our communities. If you are fortunate enough, your pursuit of home—where you feel like you truly belong—will be effortless, and the rooms in which you feel accepted and loved will be warm.
Like the multifaceted stained glass windows that decorate the world's hallowed cathedrals, Pepperdine paints a dazzling picture of distinct individuals finding their home among an elaborate network of diverse hues and patterns. While brilliant on their own, each piece reflects a dynamic energy as it is illuminated by the divine light that shines through all of them. With the fire they possess within, this precious collective also radiates the light that the world needs and brightens our differences and unique contributions to our community. Eternally fused, each shard is planted firmly where it is set and fortified by the countless pieces surrounding it.
This illustration is a powerful picture of belonging. This is our starting point: each of us has been created beautifully in the image of God to fit together and be stronger than we are apart. Why is this truth so important? Because this is our true and common heritage, one that is preeminent and transcends above all of our differences. This is our great unifying principle. We were created as one people—as one window with many different parts. And the light of our connectedness reflects the beauty and majesty of God.
Therefore, as we contemplate the ways in which we better cultivate belonging at Pepperdine, we must look beyond where we feel inherently connected, valued, and loved and examine those places whose warmth can be intensified. This exploration provides us with an opportunity and an invitation to discern together—in the academy, in community, in places of faith, and through acts of service—how we can strengthen our connections to one another and form lasting bonds to ensure that not a single part of our wonderfully made masterpiece feels broken, burdened, or left behind.