The President of the University kept telling us the same thing through the entire weekend. At the Awards Dinner and the Baccalaureate Service and the Commencement ceremony. He kept saying, “Celebrate!” As if he knew we could let the celebration slip right by us.
I guess he’s been a University President long enough to know the craziness of graduation weekend. He knows we’re all exhausted from the traveling and moving and sleeping on hotel beds and eating restaurant food and sitting in traffic and trying to get everywhere on time. He knows we have family dynamics and we have debt and we have children who are leaving us despite the fact that we’re the ones who will get in the car at the end of it all and drive away.
I think I finally heard him when he said it the third time: Celebrate. You know those movie scenes where the character stands still, but all around her the world keeps moving? Yeah, it was like that.
Yesterday, I stood on the sidewalk and talked with my neighbor about the tree she’d had cut down while we were away. We stood in the shade of the tree that remained and a monarch butterfly flew low and easy overhead. We could see the sun shining through its filmy orange and black wings. We both stood silently, my neighbor and I, and watched the butterfly glide against a backdrop of turquoise sky.
Last weekend, when I finally heard the president giving me permission to let the world keep spinning while I stood in one spot and soaked it all in, it was just like watching that butterfly with my neighbor.
Most of the time, I hold too tightly to frenzy and the next thing on my schedule. I need to be reminded that the bible doesn’t say, “Blessed are the frenzied, or the overbooked, or the fastest, or the busiest, or the one who finishes first.”
Sometimes I get the American message confused with God’s message. I need someone who’s walked this road before to gently and persistently and kindly remind me to go ahead, look up, and celebrate.