Sunday, April 20, 2014

Told by an Idiot, Signifying Nothing....

8:40 PM Posted by Patrick 1 comment
This will be the last spring I see at IPFW.

The above will seem like an unimportant and insignificant phrase to many of you, but the reality is that I have spent a fair portion more of my life there than many of you could imagine.

In less than a week, or so I imagine, I will watch all the trees burst into blossom for the last time. I will watch as the student body discovers that the air outside is indeed good for breathing, and I will watch the vast, unyielding, landscape of yoga pants bloom into booty-shorts with no intermediate stage.

I  will watch the trees burst into blossom, and they will as gorgeous as they ever have been; even as they have grown more perfect each year since I first arrived.

Campus has changed since my first year. New buildings have risen where there were none, new clubs and groups have formed to meet the social needs of the campus, the student populations has increased in number, and the trees have grown in a way that campus administrators only wish they could grow the profits from the school..

Most of the people I knew the best are gone; through graduation or the simple rigors and difficulty of life, including all of those I liked the best. It is not lonely that I feel, so much as a constant, chafing, impatience. Certainly some of them preceded me only as I completed my first year, but I feel the need to follow them none the less. Every time I work on a seemingly purposeless exercise for one of my less interesting classes,I remind myself that it is for the last time.

And even so, I wait with mixed apprehension and anticipation, as I wait for the blossoms on campus to greet me for the last time. The buds are full, and  I do not imagine I have long to wait before it flowers once more.

And yet, as a person I am basically unchanged. College is supposed to be this grand tansformational process, yet it has taught me that I was a person fully formed, more or less. The new and divers political and moral creeds; I have heard them, but I am unimpressed. should peer pressure and appeals to authority persuade me? I have heard nothing to sway me from the positions I once held. Is liberty and a measure if injustice not better than over-reaching authority and the same? What can one expect from governments of men?

And yet, whether polity or oligarchy wins the fight around me, I wait and watch as the trees of IPFW burst into bloom one more time.

What are grades? I graduate Summa Cum Laude this Spring, and what a lovely piece of paper that will be, but I know cleverer and more ambitious people who have graduated with less, and who will end life with more; at least in wealth, cash prizes, and the like. But am I supposed to be jealous? Do I deserve more, just because I write a nice essay and find the right answers.

Odd though it may seem, even more than graduation and my awards, I look forward to watching the trees bloom on campus.

Is that not boring? I have no transformational story, no 'aha!' moment; that is part of my secret to success; I know of no isolated facts, but only additions into the whole as I see the world. There are not many narratives, but one narrative with many elements.And here is the awful truth of the strange permanence of my world as I come to the end of my college career:

Even as the world springs into blossom, and even as it shall wither away once more, I know that my redeemer lives, and that he will raise up me and all flesh at the last day, and even as we wither, so will he bring us forth in blossom once more.

Is it not appalling that my perception should be discolored by such unreason? But there it is. I am forced to see the hand of God in creation, so that all that I learn merely enters within the scope of a world into which God has died and risen for fallen and sinful men. It is a world in which God forgives my numerous sins shortcomings, as well as all of the shortcomings of those who have come before me.

And yet, in spite of my weaknesses and failures, and the same of all those around me, the trees will burst into blossom on campus before my eyes, one more time, and in beauty that I could never hope to recreate.

I leave campus as the same person as I arrived; Patrick Michael Casey, marked with the highest and only distinction that matters--marked in baptism, marked in the absolution, and marked in the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is an odd thought; in almost every discipline I have approached, there is an idea that we understand the individual according to something larger. In politics, one understands precept in relation to first principles, one understands history in relation to history within a greater scope, and language may only be understood within a system of structures of language--a langue and parole--which gives meaning to every utterance. So also, all of our little stories are joined into a greater story.

My story, then, is just one more minor chorus in the ceaseless anthem to the God who lives, Who died, and Who will raise all men on the last day, and bring us all amongst the blossoms of a garden which shall know no end.

So as the world breaks forth into Spring once more, and as I leave campus, I leave as a holy fool; a servant at the table of Jesus Christ, an Acolyte, a dog. But it is enough. I rejoice as God reminds us that he still brings life to our world, and that he will bring us to everlasting life thereafter.

And so I run my course, not in the nihilistic, depressive, mindset that the trees bloom as termination of a biological process that ends in death, but in the hope that it will end as it was always meant to end; in life, and seen through resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I am, perhaps, a little older--I perhaps even fancy myself to be little wiser. Nonetheless, nothing has changed. Jesus lives, and it is enough.

1 comment:

  1. Reading this means the world to your grandma, who loves you so very much. You get it, and you are wise and confident enough to hold fast to what you know to be true. At the end of it all, this is all that really matters.