Hello Decade, Goodbye Decade

As we end a decade, and begin a new one… Where to start …

The outgoing decade had me enter a calling I had not imagined, in my wildest dreams, higher education. I am beyond blessed to be part of the community of learners at Benedictine College. The faculty, staff and administration is supportive and, just, fun to be with. As is the case with any “family”, we have our days of ups and downs, but we are here, every day, with our students in service to the Lord.

I look forward to our first days of class in fall, especially, with the beginning first-year students. They are anticipatory, excited, likely a bit afraid, and wondering “what’s ahead for me?”. As the days turn into weeks, seasons change from summer, to fall, to winter, and to spring, we end, hopefully, in the sprit we began, with wonder, hope, and joy.

Our Opening School Mass and Convocation is an important event in students’ academic life at Benedictine, and one that has taken on a more personal tone. We have the first-year students, with their freshman beanies, process into the Abbey Church, taking their place as we welcome them to our community.

We say, collectively, “Hello!”

They will sit there, as a group, again, for the last time, at Baccalaureate.

We say, collectively, “Goodbye!”

Prior to that, as the school year winds down, in the final days of class, I acknowledge those in our program who are graduating, and we pray, collectively, for them, and their future. It can be emotional, but I am so proud of them, and their accomplishments. We say “goodbye”, but not ‘farewell”.

This past spring, a faculty colleague notified me they were resigning at the end of the school year, and moving with family to a location in another state, taking a new faculty position. This person was, and is, a great friend. We shared our personal and professional ups and downs over the decade, and I was disappointed to see them leave. I had an artist friend create a small painting that showed the path towards a sunset, a “goodbye” of sorts. She came up with what was a fitting visual rendering of leaving, and of a new beginning, and I presented it to my friend and colleague.

As we launch a decade which has, as a surety, unknowns, and more “hellos” and “goodbyes”, I keep in my heart the prayer the Lord gave to Moses, to instruct Aaron and his sons:

The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them.
Nm 6: 22-27

Image: Andrew Kudrin Flickr.

Michael Throop