Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Time, Like an Ever-rolling Stream

We were at Grove City College last weekend for Daniel's graduation. Graduations are happy events, even when they have to be held inside because of the rain, with limited seating in the gym and overflow in the IM room.  The Baccalaureate on Friday night at least was on the quad, facing into a beautiful sunset:

Michael Horton spoke at Baccalaureate; and in a last-minute change from William Bennett, who was sick, the gentle doctor Ben Carson spoke at Graduation. It was mercifully free of political speechmaking, and full of the joy of life and finding one's purpose in life, with grace and humor. Afterwards, students and families crowded in spots all over campus, processing the momentous life change, connecting with old friends briefly before parting once again, packing up dorm rooms and reminiscing about old days.

I've written before of the disorientation of returning to my own Alma Mater as the parent of a current student. I see the archetypal faces of generations of students, of earlier versions of my own friends, almost rushing past me, superimposed on the fresh young faces of the current crop of graduates who are living only in this present moment. I see the places where old, diamond-leaded windows have been replaced with newer versions, or where 1930's bathroom tiles coexist with automatic soap dispensers, and I concede that the newer ways of managing things are probably better even as I am nostalgic for my particular group of archetypal friends and patterns of life from the old days, which can never come again. I remember the day of my own graduation, and how anticlimactic it was to pile into the family van and drive away, never again to experience the same heady mix of personalities and intellectual stimulation that made life intensely real and personal and engaging for four years. It was a loss, but also a beginning, and I wish for all graduates that they may be able to make a good beginning and keep the best of the good things they are of necessity leaving behind.

I am so grateful for the good friendships Daniel has made; the kind hospitality given to us by the McClelland family after packing up the dorm room and saying many good-byes, easing the transition to the future with good food and baby kittens. I'm glad Daniel and Steve get to travel back overland, taking one more version of the great father-son road-trip. So far they have seen Mammoth Caves in Kentucky, Lincoln's birthplace and boyhood home, Andrew Jackson's Hermitage, William Faulkner's home in Oxford, MS, Hot Springs National Park, Fort Smith...

The rest of the family flew out and back, and we are mostly but not completely recovered from that red-eye. Here at home, another school year is hurtling to its close and there are many details to manage and coordinate. I feel the ever-rolling stream of Time as it bears its sons away. It is good to hang on to the constancy of the Creator in the midst of it all.

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