may it be.

June 1, 2010

up until tonight, i haven’t really cried. i took photos off the wall and placed them into a box. i emptied the personal contents of my desk drawers and [whatever i didn’t throw away] placed them in a different box. i took every note, card, or letter that had been left, sent, or delivered and placed them in a small box. my desk area in the office is barren and void of my personality. well, i did leave one sticker on the wall which reads, “be a smart ass” – so i suppose my personality is not entirely gone. and through it all, i shed not one tear. i started to wonder if it would really hit me at all. or maybe i’d enter the grieving period after it was all over. i have been expecting these weeks to be difficult and filled with tears…salty, warm, unstoppable tears. i know tears. i cry well. but, yet, i have not experienced this familiar release. at least, not until tonight.

for the most part, it was a rather usual tuesday night – complete with technical difficulties. but i was met with tears tonight. first at pre-prayer, when [suddenly] i was struck by the reality that i would not be returning. i have been aware of this reality, but tonight at pre-prayer i was struck by it. second, when the staff for next year excitedly ran onto stage, leaving me in the fifth pew back, sandwiched by two dimmitts. i don’t suppose i would have rather been sandwiched by any other two. and then i did fairly well, until the fourth song in the reflection set: ‘this road.’ i stood singing with the people around me, my voice joining with theirs. we sang through two verses, and started in on the chorus:

This road that we travel may it be the straight and narrow
God, give us peace and grace from You, all the day
Shelter with fire, our voices we raise still higher
God, give us peace and grace from You, all the day through

i was struck again. this time into the pew. i sat down, placed my face in my hands, and cried. not a gentle, easy, refined sort of cry. but a convulsive, snotty, graceless cry. i heard the voices of students singing out to the God that made them. the God that breathed life into them. the God that loved them more than i could ever understand. more than they could ever understand. and suddenly i was praying: “this road that they travel…may it, please God, be the straight and narrow. God, will you please grant them peace and grace – everyday. may you shelter them, Lord…and may their voices continue to raise higher and higher. please, Jesus, give them peace and grace that only comes from you.” i wept not because God wouldn’t. i cried not because God hadn’t. i cried because all these years that’s what it’s been about. sometimes i’ve done well remembering it. sometimes i’ve even done alright living it out. most times i’m sure i’ve been awful at remembering, and done less than mediocre at living it out. but all these years, it’s been about praying and hoping that students would follow God’s road. that they might know, that he might grant them, his peace and grace. and that they, as they grow and leave, would choose to continue on that road, lifting their voices and following him. i cried because i want that for them. i want it for me. i want it for all of us. and so i sat there, in the middle of a crowd of students, and i cried. and i prayed.

because that’s what i’m leaving. and that’s what i’m taking with me.