Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Commencement, 1978


Be light. That was the formal motto of the college I attended back in the 70s. We also had "the end of learning is gracious living" as an informal motto; it was inscribed over the east entrance into the dorm I lived in my first year at school.

I'm not sure why I thought of this last night. But as I was getting ready for bed, I realized that it was on 10JUN78 that I graduated from college. Thirty-one years today. Wow.

Having won a Thomas Watson Foundation fellowship (my project was to look for orchids in the jungles of Colombia and Venezuela) and a rather spectacular academic fellowship (from the Heyl Foundation) to study molecular pharmacology at Yale (only four people were accepted that year, and it had nothing to do with dispensing medications at a pharmacy!), it looked as though the trajectory of my life was set.

But I wound up turning down both of those opportunities -- much to the consternation of many. Instead, I entered the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus in September of that year.

And the rest, as they say (in my case, anyway), is ancient history.

As an aside, I count my sobriety as beginning fifteen months to the day (well, plus or minus three, days I think; everything back then is *still* a blur) after my graduation from college.

God has a weird sense of humor....

As my time here Down Range draws to a close, I see how the 'gracious living' as the end of learning we laughed about in college turned out in my case to be graced living -- even and perhaps especially here in Iraq -- rather than something from the pages of "Town and Country" as we'd all imagined.


Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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1 comment:

Carol said...

I hadn't thought of "gracious living" in years. But you're right about graced living. It beats "Town and Country" any day.

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