Monday, October 30, 2006

Leaves, confetti-like, lift in a gust of wind and whip across my path. Another gust and whoosh!, leaves accost me in the face. It’s a blustery fall day, but I’m smiling, and I notice, so are many of my friends, as we make our way across campus for our next class. It’s Friday, thank goodness. I have three classes down, and one to go. There’s another reason to smile: it’s the end of October, just three weeks until Thanksgiving break. Which means of course, that there are just five weeks of classes until Christmas break! That makes it sound like I can’t wait to get away from this place, which isn’t true. I’m happy to be here.

Education, like life, is a journey, not necessarily a destination. I’ve arrived at C of O to pursue my education. So, in that sense, college is a destination. But it is also a gateway. I’ll get my degree in four years, and that will be an arrival of sorts. But my education will continue after that point. And so will my life.

In life, and in education, there are always ups and downs in the road. Some days, all I can do is plod on to the next class, wade through the next reading assignment, work my next shift in the cafeteria. I forget to take joy in each moment, thinking, "If I can just get through (fill in the blank), I can lie down for a nap." Some days, I take myself up on the offer. Other days, I can’t wipe the smile off my face, my sense of wonder is so acute. I delight in the people who surround me, the well-ordered grounds, the vision by which this school operates.

Sarah Ban Breathnach says "Learning to live in the present moment is part of the path of joy." I want to live every moment of my life, with purpose and with joy. I’m not sure how that’s possible. Living with purpose implies there is a goal. Too often, when working toward a goal, I miss the significance of moments.

"I have homework," is an excuse I hear myself using a lot. It makes me sound the responsible scholar, but it also serves a ploy for when I want to avoid human interaction. Why do sever myself from joy? Some of my most meaningful experiences in life have occurred in moments, mere snippets of conversation with newly-made acquaintances. But some days, the very things and people I found delightful only the day before, annoy and aggravate me to distraction. Why is it?

The card is square, a-typical for a greeting card. It’s black like a chalkboard, with white sans serif type spelling the words of Cesare Pavese: "We do not remember days, we remember moments." That is what impresses me as my first semester at C of O draws to an end. Moments matter. They are the steps that compose a life’s journey. They are like the leaves that flurry around me: annoying, yet delightful, common, colorful, and each unique in a changing world.

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