Today is my last first day of my undergraduate degree.
I graduate four months from this day, January 21.
I look about at my surroundings. I’ve been looking at my hands for over 21 years, and all the time, they have been familiar to me. But I know that if I tracked it over time, I would see how they have changed.
You keep going about a life of comforting sameness, but you look up and everything is different.
How have four years passed so quickly. I look back at photos of freshman Sara, back in 2012. I look up at my reflection across from me. My face has thinned, and I have no more baby face, but I look the same to my own eyes: blonde hair, blue eyes, porcelain skin — a true child of German ancestry. I’m the same to myself. Is it possible that I’m about to finish a degree?
About to launch out into the colder world?
I don’t like the cold.
We all talk about how we aren’t ready to “adult.” We make jokes about how we’re ALREADY graduating. But we aren’t ready to talk about it seriously.
Because, you see, it is definitely not a joke.
This is my life.
I want to collapse on my bed and cry. I want to manipulate outcomes. I want a guarantee that I won’t fall into a thousand tiny pieces — that instead I will soar.
There is no such guarantee.
It’s too tender to talk about. I am too far gone to tell the truth —
I am afraid.
School is the only kind of life I’ve ever known.
And no one is prepared to talk seriously about this because this is a phenomenon that we all know is coming, but which we are all powerless to stop.
This is my life.
What are we to do?
I’m walking around in a daze, looking at this familiar campus, dealing with the bittersweetness of lasts.
For we are excited.
So much awaits us!
It doesn’t stop us from being afraid.
These have been the most beautiful years in my waking memory. What if nothing else is as beautiful again?
Somewhere in the distance, as certain as morning, as sweet as the pipe of a peasant flute, I hear You say that You love me, and You will not fail me.
See, a sunrise promises new things. A new day. A new period of time in which to see the beauty and grace and gifts of God.
This is my sunrise.
This time before graduation — it is the winking out of stars as dusty pink lines the horizon.
The entire world — the full length and breadth and depth of the universe — trembles with anticipation of what God will do next.
The melancholia may dwell strongly in my heart, but may it make these final four months richer.
May it cause me to twirl around in delight, to sing freer, to glow a little more.
I have four months.
What will I do?
Who will I be?
I will sing with wild abandon.
I will be radiant.
I will cherish my people while I am here with them.
Maybe I will even be a little silly.
After all, this is the closing of a chapter, the dawn of a new day, and al the other clichés that ever existed to describe lasts.
Let’s love what we have while we have it.
And let’s believe that what’s coming for us is infinitely better than what we’re turning our backs on.
Let’s face the swift sunrise and rejoice in it.
There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.
- C.S. Lewis