It’s easy to avoid reality. You can distract your self in a multitude of ways and most of the time it works. Pretending things aren’t really going to happen is easy, too. You just pretend life isn’t going to happen. But, it is not fail proof. When you’re all alone and have nothing to distract you, when you’re in Mass in the Chapel, when you’re falling asleep at night or waking in the morning, the truth will weave it’s way into your mind like a worm. And it will explode a thousand images of the impending reality. And you want to run. Suddenly, too, the dreaded thing does happen. In my case, it did.
For a year and a half, I have been dreading the weekend of May 13, 2006. For a rather large group of people that are very dear to me, this was a happy weekend. And in that sense, I was happy, too. It’s always nice to see your friends beaming. Especially when it’s because they are graduating from College. They spend four long years studying, growing and learning in and outside of the classroom. Along the way, they suffer hardships, achieve grand accomplishments, and forge some incredible friendships. Most of these friends are in their class. But not always.
I, too, am blessed with some awesome friends. Over the last year and a half, I have made some deep ties with some very incredible people. But, over that last year and a half I have been dreading the good-bye of May 2006. At first, I could brush it off. I had a year and a half, then a year, then two semesters which quickly went down to one, then I had a few months, then a few weeks. Suddenly, before I knew it, I had one week left to make as many awesome memories and spend as much time as I possibly could with my friends.
And then we said good-bye. I have never felt quite so strongly and distinctly that my heart had been ripped from my chest, torn apart, and place back inside to heal on its own. But, that is how I feel. Saying good-bye to Ted, Kelly, Niki, Michele, Beth, Pat, A.J., and Larry (and others) was one of the most painful things I have ever had to do.
Being a military brat, it’s hard to believe good-byes are still hard for me. But, my sister aptly put it. It doesn’t get easier with every good-bye, it only gets harder and more frustrating. But, I wondered why the good-bye was so much harder with these people.
And then it occured to me. When I met these people and, a few months later, began working to make friendships with them, we seemed so very different. While one came from a large family in the mid-west, another came from a small family, loves to hang with boys, and was very sick once upon a time. Another had lived in California and now in North Carolina and he is very tall. She came from Virginia and was an excellent irish and swing dancer. He was completely phlegmatic, but if you tried hard enough, he would open up and was very kind. She was Italian and choleric and loved to mother her friends. He was a chivalrous guy and was proud of his Thai background. She was Polish, fun-loving, and very sensitive to others. And suddenly, after this eclectic group pulled together, another girl pushed her way in. She was short, loud, and loved to love others. And they let her in. And they were happy.
But what was it that kept us all together, through all the good and all the bad? It was unselfish love and complete giving of each other to each other. It was selfless sacrifice, spiritually, emotionally. But all of this stems from the passionate love each of us friends shares in Christ. All of what we have, feel, know, and care for stems from our strong faith. And when it wavered or faltered, another of us was there. We shared our flame and lit the other’s love again. It was unquestioning support of this Christly love that brought us all together in that tiny campus in Northern Virginia. It was also that love that took them all away.
They go, now, to follow God’s plan for them. I am so very proud. It makes me stand so very tall to think that my friends have left the stability and safety of Christendom College to seek the lost sheep and bring them back to Christ. They are going to all corners of the earth, some to Georgia, some in Virginia, one all the way to Italy. They will be forever in my prayers.
I have one more prayer, too, that I have been saying over the last few weeks and will continue to pray for a very long time. I pray that these incredible people never forget each other, the tall ones and the short ones. For it is through each other that we have been allowed such a pure and undeserved gift of friendship. We have grown closer to Christ and been allowed to see His love through each other.
Congratulations to the Christendom College class of 2006, especially my friends. May God always shine His light so you all may see where you are going and allow you to look back and remember from where you came. Never forget those lost sheep Christ asks you to love and never forget those who have loved you unquestioningly. God bless you always.