Wednesday, August 31, 2016
May It Be So
Almost exactly one year ago we dropped Seth off for his first year of college. As for any parents of a freshman, it was an exciting time for us all, with lots of unknowns and anticipations. As I look back on the year, I think we all did a rather tremendous job at letting go and being let go of. As he enters his sophomore year, Seth feels more strongly than ever that he made the right choice for himself with his college pick, and as anyone with a kid can tell you, a contented child is pretty much all a parent asks for.
One of the things that appealed about PLU to me personally was that it is not a secular campus. Of course I'm completely aware that kids will find what they are drawn to (secular, sacred, and the whole spectrum in between) at any school, anywhere in the world. But knowing that it's a part of the culture, and that speaking to vocation and a higher calling outside of self was something that I appreciated.
When we were oriented as parents and then gently separated and sent away (well, it was a bit more subtle than that, but not much), there was a student-welcoming ceremony that parents were able to observe, prior to the actual convocation that started the school year. During that service, the campus chaplain (I think?) read the following poem. (I know, right? Publicly-shared poetry? Of course Seth has found the right place for him! Ha.) I fell in love with it and have been meaning to share it ever since. It has all the hallmarks of any "new beginning" declaration--new year calendar-wise, or new year school-wise, what does it matter?
May It Be So
May the year bring abundant blessings--
beauty, creativity, delight!
May we be confident, couragous,
and devoted to our callings.
May our lives be enriched with education.
May we find enjoyment in our work
and fulfillment in our friendships.
May we grow, may we have good health.
In darker times, may we be sustained
by gratitude and hope.
May we be infused with joy.
May we know intimacy and kindness,
may we love without limit.
May the hours be enhanced with music
and nurtured by art.
May our endeavors be marked by originality.
May we take pleasure in daily living.
May we find peace within ourselves
and help peace emerge in the world.
May we receive the gifts of quiet.
May reason guide our choices,
may romance grace our lives.
May our spirits be serene,
may we find solace in solitude.
May we embrace tolerance and truth
and the understanding that underlies both.
May we be inspired with vision and wonder,
may we be open to exploration.
May our deepest yearnings be fulfilled,
may we be suffused with zeal for life.
May we merit these blessings
and may they come to be.
May it be so.
Note: "May It Be So" and its Hebrew counterpart are abecedarian poems, a type of acrostic in which the initial letters of key words appear in alphabetical succession. Abecedarians were a popular form of piyyud (liturgical poetry) composed for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, typically to delineate sins or to enumerate God's attributes. These new English and Hebrew abecedarians express wishes, hopes and blessings. Source. (Go back and read it again, now that you know the abecedarian nature of the piece. I have, many times, and appreciated that additional layer.)
As I've reread it over the past year since I first heard the words, I am struck by all that is so simply articulated, and how much of all of our lives it applies to--not just students, but certainly them as well.
My heart is full as we send the young man off for another year of learning and growing. May it be so.