Life is on the verge of transition. I’m not speaking existentially for all, but specifically for myself. This coming week will be the end of a long and full season with the School of Biblical Studies. All of the celebrations will occur, students will graduate, millions of photos will be taken with strings of people side hugging and smiling, epic recap videos will be cried over, mini speeches will be made.
I pan out that way to invite you in to the universal themes of hard won victories and deeply forged friendships.
On a more personal level, I hate goodbyes.
At 25 I said goodbye to a group of people I had just spent 6 months with in more intense community than I had ever before experienced. We stood around in a tired circle in the foyer of a Southern German castle and we hugged and I cracked jokes. After 10 or so hugs, I lost my jokes and actually began sobbing. I have not spent the same kind of time with the group I will say goodbye to by next weekend, but I have nevertheless loved them deeply. At 36 I may be more of a cryer, but I also have a bigger picture perspective than I had a decade ago. So I’ll probably cry but maybe not sob?
I write as a way of preparing myself.
Sometimes it’s hard to be present in these “last moments” because transitions bring so many other decisions and distractions. I mentally pack and sort, remind myself of to-do lists, try to picture what the future will look like. But while I do those things, I miss other moments happening 3D in the room. And, too, last moments are not without pain I’d like to avoid.
When is being present not the better choice?
I don’t mean it’s no good to dream or plan, think through things, process past things. Many things we experience require preplanning or post processing. But what is there to process or plan if you are not even there to also experience life? As an expert daydreamer, I find this challenging. I need go no farther than my memories to discover how poorly my younger days of daydreaming prepared me for my actual life. This is not to bash the activity, so much as give it its proper place of importance.
I don’t want to miss the beauty of the moment even if it is mixed with sadness. My hope for the coming week, as well as the years after, is that I really be there.
Will you join me?