I’ve never seen that many girls crying in one room before. It was the kind of crying that isn’t over-sobbing, where the person can’t breathe because tears are drowning them, but its more the sort of crying you feel when you want to stay strong and yet can’t help yourself. It’s the kind of crying you see young men do at the funeral of their best friend or their Dad when his body arrives from a foreign land.
Such was the sight last week. We, the College’s graduating class of 2008, had made it through the ceremonies. We had walked the walk, shook the proper hands, kissed the Cardinal’s ring, and accepted our diplomas. We graduated.
There was one last thing, however, on our agenda. We had to dance the night away. We had one last dance beneath the roof of our Commons, one last dance as a class, as a family.
Everything was going well. A couple of people had gotten wet-eyed earlier in the evening, but they had calmed down by now. We had danced “We Are Family” up on stage like a mass of nutcases, bumping hips like a bunch of oversized kids. We had danced the last dance of the night (I even had one dedicated to me for all my years of birthday singing).
And there we were.
It started out one by one. This or that girl began crying, and her friends came over to her. Then they started crying. But now the dance had ended, and the announcement had been made that underclassmen should stay and clean up, but Seniors (that is, us graduates) did not have to help. So we didn’t. It was time to say goodbye.
And then the tears came forth.
It started in groups, but soon every single graduated girl in the room was crying. It varied between girls, but each one had a wet eye. The men were men, of courses, not crying outside, but talking in hushed tones as we hugged each other. We hugged the girls too, of course, but it was the guys embracing each other like brothers that was the most touching. Even those of us who didn’t really know each other embraced in a sign of bonding. We were a class, and yet we realized that too late.
But should we have cried like we did? Why did we not just smile? A new chapter of our lives was beginning, but we could not see it then for the salty tears.
In Italian there is a big difference between “Buona sera” and “Buona notte.” Buona sera means “good afternoon/evening,” a more indefinite greeting or parting that means you might very well see the other person again before the day is over. Buona notte means that it is bed time, and you will not see the person again before the next day.
Graduation is a Buona sera moment. By that I mean it is not the end. We will all see each other again in time. Cry not for the parting but instead look forward in hope to the future meetings and greetings.
That is my Graduation hope for my class: that we will all meet again.
And we will. It is all in God's time.