|My friend Rachel graduating...|
Just a few short hours after our last trip to the Boulevard, we graduated from College. That morning, since “R” is pretty far back in the alphabet, I got to watch most of my friends graduate before me. I took pictures and could see the looks on their faces as they walked across the stage. Finally it was my turn.
|Jill, Frank, and Brian... College Graduates.. (almost 10 years ago)|
|My family in the stands.|
The actual process of graduating from Holy Cross seems simple enough, climb stairs on to stage, accept diploma with left hand shake hands with the president with the right, continue along the stage, go down the stairs, exit. The things is, I remember the faces on the stage that morning. I remember Kim McElaney with a huge smile, a big hug, and I remember her saying: “I am so proud of you.” I remember walking on to the stage and, having heard the president say “Congratulations” to the 4 or 5 students before me and I remember having been prepared to say “Thank you” I remember looking up towards the crowd, and having picked out where my family was sitting earlier, looking up at my parents and my mom’s mom, and my dad’s dad. I remember the sky being bright blue, and the sun bleaching out everyone at Fitton field. I remember the green astro-turf carpet on the stage, the white tent that surrounded it, and the line of rolled up diplomas neatly tied with purple ribbons in the special boxes that Holy Cross had made for the occasion.
I remember the name being called ahead of mine and having to will my feet to move, just a little, to proceed to the spot where Fr. MacFarland was standing, I got up to the stage and expected to hear “Congratulations,” but instead I heard “So I guess we’ll be seeing you around…” The man threw me a curve, I was ready to say “Thank you” and instead I said “um yeah, around, yeah,” and walked off the stage, and I could see my friend Joe, who was seated in the front row, chuckling as I walked off, and I couldn’t help but laugh at myself a little too.
It can be all too rare a thing in our lives when we have moments where things just slow down, and we realize that we are right where we are supposed to be at that moment. I can’t say that it was always an easy ride for me at Holy Cross, in fact the record will show that there was a point during freshmen year where I thought of leaving to go to the diocesan seminary, but somehow felt like I would just be running away if I did. I had a deep sense that I had to see it through. Had I not made those decisions in darker moments this moment of graduation, and a thousand others like it that occurred over those four years never would have come. Sometimes, when we are right where we are supposed to be things slow down, and I think that maybe in those minute God is giving us just a minute glimpse of what eternity is really like.
At the beginning of the book of Acts, the disciples go up with Jesus to the mountaintop as he ascends into heaven, and it could be that for them this was just one of those sorts of moments. I say that because as Jesus ascends into heaven, messengers from heaven appear to ask them why they are staring into the sky. Heaven comes down to meet them in that moment, not because it wants them to stay, but to impel them forward. Just as the two messengers ask why they are standing there looking to heaven, it is good for us to always ask in these moments just where it is that we are going, because those glimpses are always a preparation for something else. For the Apostles it was the moment when they returned to Jerusalem to await the Holy Spirit. In my moment it was about returning home to prepare to enter the novitiate. These moments that we remember so vividly I think often point us to the future precisely by allowing ourselves to live in the present. Those moments can give us the times that we recall in later days to push us through into the future.
|Matt, Joe (with all the academic bling) and I at the end of|
the day.. (Thank God I found an exercise bike a few months
At the end of that day, I stood up on the quad at Holy Cross with my two closest friends that year and had lunch, after I had handed in the cap and gown and I packed up the old Volvo and headed out. As the car drove down Mt. St. James I have to admit it was a weird feeling, and I may have welled up a little, but it was time to leave the mountaintop, and get ready for a new mission.