Graduation is the high point of the college year. We had ours on Saturday. It is always a day filled with deep but mixed emotions. Euphoria at getting through another 8 months of intense teaching and interaction with students. Frustation with those who failed because they did not hand in final assignments. Sadness and satisfaction at seeing successful graduates celebrating their achievements and leaving campus.
Our two speeches at the ceremony by our guest speaker, Dr. Joanne Pepper, and our valedictorian, David Young, were particularly poignant on the themes of missional living and radical inclusivity. I was inspired and moved. I had numerous good conversations both after the ceremony and at the banquet later in the day. I was even quoted in the valedictorian’s speech on the importance of orthopraxy over doctrinal orthodoxy, although I must confess my hypocrisy. It feels somewhat frightening to have a student express their own convictions that sound a lot like what I tried to teach in class!
So after that Mount Carmel experience, I just wanted to retreat to my pile of dirt in the backyard yesterday. I did not want to see anyone, talk to anyone or listen to anyone. Just leave me alone with my weeds and my shovel and my hands in the dirt. At least I could tell I was making a difference! I find gardening very therapeutic after the intellectual, spiritual and emotional stresses of an acaademic year. Today it’s back at the office but my mind and my body are moving a little slower than usual. Thankfully September is still a ways away.