This month, June, has turned out to be a very eventful month leaving me with two significant occurrences that will change my life forever. As I walked across the stage of the Petco Park Stadium in San Diego celebrating the achievement and conferral of my degree, I got emotional when I shook the dean’s hands. Certainly, it was an exciting day that I had looked forward to for months. Certainly, my accomplishment was worth being proud of. Certainly, I had all rights to shed a few happy tears. However, those cheerful tears were not only mine. As I walked off the stage and looked into the crowds of families and friends applauding the graduates, I thought of my dad. He had passed away a few days earlier. He was the kind of person, who would not always express his feelings directly. Rather, he did so in silent whispers and small gestures. He could not cheer me loudly on that day. Nevertheless, I could feel that he was proud of me. Perhaps it was him crying cheerful tears on that day.
Several speakers at the commencement pointed out that it is not necessarily the degree itself that will make a difference in the world but what we do with it. While a commencement ceremony signifies a celebration of achievement and the end of a student’s studies, it is a new beginning. It is a chance for the graduate to use the knowledge received for the greater and make a mark in the world. It is a chance to leave the world a little better than before. It is a chance for a new beginning of success. Some students use it to better the lives of others in their communities, other students fly to the moon to change the entire world. A student becomes a graduate, a professor becomes a former instructor, and a university an alma mater leaving memories and wisdom.
The same can be said when a parent returns to our spiritual home leaving many memories of childhood and transferred knowledge behind in the hope that the next generation would carry on the tradition and legacy, a kind of new beginning although heavily disguised. It takes courage to love because suffering and loss is an inevitable part of loving. It takes courage to let go. It takes courage to graduate and venture out into the world. Thank you, Dad, for your courage. I hope I’ll make you proud again someday. Meanwhile, fly with the angels to the moon. I’ll see you there some day.
Copyright © 2016 by Barbara Bullock, Photo credit © 2016 by Barbara Bullock, taken in Venice, Italy, May 2016
National University http://www.nu.edu
Petco Park, San Diego http://petcoparkevents.com/
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