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Graduation: Oh if you could only see what I could see

May 24, 2012

I graduated on Saturday. How exactly do I walk away from four incredible, inspiring, intense years at Wheaton College?

Now that the celebrations have come to a close and the departures have been made, I finally have time to watch the dust settle on another chapter of my life. I haven’t quite left yet and I haven’t quite made sense of it all, so allow me to slowly try.

Today, as I return to the simple happiness that is blogging, let me tell you about commencement, the 19th of May, 2012. In a pensive, solitary, but confused type of mood, I rose early. I encouraged my body and mind to awake slowly, by painting my graduation cap in bright colors and a passage of Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry:

 My soul is alight with your infinitude of stars. Your world has broken upon me like a flood. The flowers of your garden blossom in my body. The joy of life that is everywhere burns like an incense in my heart. And the breath of all things plays on my life as on a pipe of reeds.

Upon making my way to the Everett Courtyard, where all the graduates were lining up and gathering – I was everywhere and nowhere – in the moment, but lost in that gathering of incredible moments. I didn’t know whether to push my tears out or hold them back. In the end they just danced on the edge. (And on the edge they frustratingly remain.)

But oh, if only you could see what I could see. The best part about graduation was seeing familiar faces look back at me with so much story. These gazes I will always remember, with intense gratitude. I’ve always thought that graduation was more for the people that helped you get through all the years that preceded it. Everyone tells the graduate, “It’s your day! Congratulations!” But I find that it is less for me, and more for the people who get to watch the ceremony take place, more for the people who were instrumental in making possible the multitude of moments that led up to graduation. Certainly the ceremony is important, and it is a beautiful feeling to hear your name called as you walk across stage (barefoot in my experience) to get a hug from your College President and hold in your humble hands a College Degree. However, I watched the faces of others and in them I found the significance of graduation.

I looked each of them in the eye, smiled and could not explain how thankful I was for all that they had given to me. The blessings of the past four years have completely blown me away. It was incredible to walk to my assigned seat, just the second row from the front and see my mom there, next to other parents and supporters, smiling with uncontainable joy, waiting to take a photo of me. I gave her a hug as she exclaimed, “I feel like you’re in kindergarten again!”

It’s these moments I will remember – friends, parents of friends, professors, staff – looking back at me and mirroring the pride and joy I held so graciously in my heart.I will remember all those eyes, all those smiles.  I will remember the heat of the sun, blessing us with its heat, its light. I will remember the cool, gentle grass underneath my bare feet as I walked toward the blue stage for my Wheaton diploma and back around all the seated seniors. I will remember and I will treasure, the way the people who have loved me, have looked back at me.

There is a joy of release in the exhale, knowing you’ve finally made it to the end. I find I am breathing again.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie Cruz permalink
    May 24, 2012 3:24 am

    Congratulations Tanya! May you continue to shine for Jesus, your family, & loved ones!

  2. Tayshawn :p permalink
    May 24, 2012 4:26 am

    I love this! You are an absolutely amazing individual. To see the happiness in your mothers eyes while also having the chance to witness this amazing day was nothing short of enlightenment. I love you, Tanya!

    • May 26, 2012 2:15 pm

      It was so amazing to have you there with me. You truly have been an incredible part of my story these past few years. Thank you for always being here for me. I love you back!!

  3. May 24, 2012 8:28 pm

    You are exceptional in every way. Your words are pure poetry and you will not be forgotten. You are a very special young woman with so many talents and come fall you will truly be missed. Please keep in touch as we are always here for you.


    • May 26, 2012 2:16 pm

      Thank you so much, PH! It’s been an incredible journey and I am so thankful to have had you as a teacher and friend.

  4. Cindy permalink
    June 10, 2012 11:11 am

    I will miss you but am so happy and proud for all you have accomplished! Keep dancing and enjoying everyday. Love to you always!

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