By: Sandy Churchill
May has arrived, brimming with birdsong, sunny days, First Communions, and graduations—and this year the month holds indisputable “firsts” in so many ways—social distancing, masked attendees everywhere you look, virtual baby showers, and canceled sports, concerts, parties, and classes.
This is the time for inspirational milestone speeches—at high school and college graduations, and a colleague recently commented that this class of high school graduates was born close to the 9/11 tragedy 18 and a half years ago. Interesting that these seniors were born as babies in a time of adversity and fear, and they have grown to be strong and capable teens facing an unprecedented time for their graduation as well. These brave seniors—and their college senior counterparts—have surrendered in-class, on-campus milestones such as award ceremonies, proms, plays, concerts, performances, games, and myriad traditions, in the face of circumstances beyond their control. While we, as a community, hope and pray that these events will somehow be compensated with make-up celebrations at a later date, the loss is clear and these resilient young adults will move forward.
I was reflecting on the year of graduation for these folks: 2020. What came to mind was the “2020” concept of perfect vision at an eye exam. What if this time, at this moment in history, is a special time for this graduating class, calling them to “vision” in their own life-path, voice, and impact on the world around them? The year of 2020 offers its share of sacrifices, for sure, and we are not even halfway through it! But what if our brave and selfless graduates embrace the opportunities for “vision” as they step forward into the next chapter of their lives? Vision for them may encompass a self-awareness of their talents and responsibilities, an embracing of the here and now, and gratitude for the many blessings bestowed on them (and all of us) each and every day.
Vision for the special graduates of 2020 may impose a calling to certain careers to help others—spanning the science field for lab research and COVID-style vaccines, the medical field to provide pandemic healthcare, the education field to impart virtual solutions, and myriad businesses to improve global safety and survival near and far. Vision may stir an appreciation for flexibility and resiliency, as they combat life’s twists and turns, and unexpected challenges. Vision may heighten the value of family and friends, and the relationships that may occasionally be taken for granted if we don’t stop to count our blessings. Vision for our graduates may become the biggest compliment of all in May of 2020, the knowledge that this special class has been entrusted with the courage, talent, flexibility, and grace to rise above adversity and inspire us all with their light.