My school has a yearly picnic at a beach park to welcome new students and celebrate with those who return for another year in the red brick building. While I’m sure this picnic has been going on every year for a while, 2009 was my first appearance at Golden Gardens Beach Park. I remember so much about that evening…
It is where I first made friends. It was where I realized that I’m not the only one who feels alone. I remember sticking my feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time ever (and OHMYGOSH that water was frigid!). Such a lovely welcome to a journey that will never be forgotten.
This week, as a part of my task as a member of Student Leadership, I was given three names of incoming students to call and check in with them and invite them to the picnic. After a long day at work and a bus ride home, the last thing I wanted to do was call strangers and chat. I wanted to shut myself into my room and read a book, disconnect from humanity. But I pick up my phone and I dialed, praying for it to go to voicemail… but it didn’t.
All three times I had the privilege to talk with these students and hear about what’s happening for them in this time of transition, and I remembered my own packing, leaving, driving, arriving… I remember the alone-ness of it.
I found myself excited by their excitement of this new adventure, a renewal of dreams and desires of what I want my school to be and who I want to be because of what I’m learning about psychology and because of what I’m discovering about myself.
So, to the incoming students of The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, I say thank you for teaching me about passion, dream, desire, fear, bravery, courage, and laughter on a day when I didn’t care.
Hope to see you at the picnic.
And I can’t help but think about the graduates, those who won’t be at the picnic. Some will be driving to new cities, some are planning weddings, and some are far and wide. Some are meeting with clients already, some are planting churches, and still others are living and working jobs that have no shine, get little attention, and are simply trying to pay post-grad school bills on an almost nothing paycheck.
You absence will be felt. You are not soon forgotten, my friends.
See you soon.