There’s something comforting in the goodbyes shared by Christians. For truly, there is no goodbye, we will always meet again, whether in this world or in the next, we will all meet again. I have been asked to write a farewell article as my final article in the Scroll, which is funny. I’ve never been good at endings. Anyone who’s read my short stories can tell you how open-ended I love leaving them. Endings are difficult, but so are beginnings, and graduation is both.
In a way, my world is ending. For four years, I have kept cultivating the same garden of friendship and learning in the same place, with the same people, with brothers and sisters in Christ. I whine far too much for someone blessed with this place in time, for this opportunity to fellowship and grow in both knowledge and faith. I complain about getting up early to go to Bible classes and complain about professors, while I should be giving thanks for the many opportunities afforded me by God’s Grace. Just go and look at my commuter article from earlier this semester. I hate that article. Where is the gratitude I ought to have? Is that article written from a heart of gratitude? No, no it is not.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was nothing to be afraid of. I’m heading off a secular graduate school in the English program. I’m terrified. That is not going to be a place that is friendly or accepting to me or my faith. Many friends of mine will experience the same thing. You, dear reader, will doubtless experience something similar, whether in school, work, or walking down the street. Life will never be the same from here on out, and it should not be, for we have all grown. Throughout your future, you will not be surrounded by your fellow believers in the same manner as at Cairn. This chapter of life, for many of us, is closing far too quickly. But this is why you came here, whether you realize it now or thirty years from now, to prepare you for the rest of your life in the world. I am a poor instrument for the church’s song of thanksgiving, our loving response to our salvation, but I will still encourage you to sing as loud as you can, no matter how hypocritical my advice is. Those of you studying here have been blessed more than I think any of us take time to appreciate. This school is not an island, but a harbor in which we can rest from the sea of the world, gather both spiritual and intellectual goods, and then take to the sea again to see that these goods reach the furthest corners of the world. This is the journey we are called to take as professional men and women of character, as our motto states. We have our callings, our sacred vocations as Christian servants. Go with joy and fulfill them.
Our journey does not stop at graduation, or parting, or even death, dear reader, for we are loved by One greater than death. Life sucks. We will have good days and bad days, and good years and bad years, but we are still loved by the God who is Love Itself. We will walk through misery, but we dare not swell in misery when such a truth is built into our very being as believers. We will all meet again, whether in this world or the next. Until we meet again, dear reader, go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Amen.