Fall on your knees. It is a line in a song. A line that will never be heard the same after feeling your own knees buckle for the first time, your legs kissing the floor in quiet desperation.
I walked slowly in to the chapel last night after lapping the campus a few times. I adore this sanctuary when the rest of the world is sleeping. But as I sought to reminisce on my upcoming graduation the next day, I was unexpectedly hit me harder than ever before. So hard that I fell to my knees and began to cry.
“Show me how to leave this place behind,” I asked upward in a desperate duel between tears and words. “Please show me.”
As I picked myself up from the floor and began to weave in and out of the pews that I had come to know so well in the past four years, I found myself drawn to a book in the corner of the chapel.
I had never seen the book before. It originally had been a guest book for visitors to leave a mark. In time it became a place to etch out a prayer onto paper, to ask for forgiveness, to extend a cry up to the heavens.
Each prayer was dated. I was drawn to one prayer in particular from the beginning of May 2009: Please bless my daughter Erin as she begins her freshman year here. Give her all the happiness she deserves and help her to find herself.
Erin. My Answer.
I don’t know Erin, nor do I think I ever will. But reading her mother’s prayer, the night before my own college graduation was all the answer to my own that I could ever need. I needed to leave, needed to graduate today and drive home for good, because others, like Erin, were meant to come in my place. To Fill The Same Spots That Once Filled Me.
But maybe we should all stand still? And Never Move? Find a spot of goodness in our lives and decide to never alter it. Like J.D. Salinger once wrote, “Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.” We could stay in places for the rest of our lives. In College. In A Lover’s Arms. In A Comfortable And Good Paying Job. But if we choose to stand still do we sacrifice moving forward?
When we find ourselves at the end of a road we could very well scrounge for a chance to go back and do it all over again but that would be selfish. Yes, that would be selfish. And I will go out on a limb and guess that we don’t really need that time as much as we claim we do.
Erin, or whomever the person may be, needs the time more than me. Someone needs mailbox number 243 more than me now to get the same good news that might change their lives, like it did mine. Someone needs the dorm rooms that I once occupied more than me now so that they too can see people walk into their room and also their heart. Someone else needs the positions I have held on my campus more than me now so that they can be shaped just as I was. And the possibility of leaving that to someone else is reason enough out and onward willingly.
We cannot hoard away people we loved, experiences we treasured, jobs we adored, in hopes that they will never be tainted or touched by anyone else. Better we give them up, send them out into the world, let someone else feel the same way we once did, accepting that the word “forever” is rarely meant for our reach. And rightfully so.
We are never left with empty arms.
As we make the decision to leave the past behind, we pick up new facets to this lifetime that will help us to grow another part of ourselves. But we must be willing to drop certain things to pick up new ones though. We need to leave some things behind so that we are not left behind instead.
Life is full of picking up and dropping off. Full Arms. Heavy Hearts. But I willingly close a chapter in my life by knowing it is the start for someone else.
May 15, 2010
Assumption College Graduate
Summa Cum Laude
English and Mass Communications & Sociology