I went with my lovely housemates to a soup dinner a few weeks ago. The church that was holding the dinner sold handmade bowls and filled them with tasty soup, a pretty cool idea in my opinion. I chose a bowl I thought was particularly beautiful. It was red, my favorite color, and the rim was dipped in a robin’s egg blue glaze. As a side note, I have always wanted to throw a bowl, particularly in the Greek sense (“Opa!”), but mostly in the pottery sense. There’s something very beautiful about the work of someone’s hands, formed and frozen in time by fire.
I noticed the bowl had a saying etched inside: “The Strength to Keep Going.” I didn’t think much of it at the time. But since then, I have thought of it a great deal, especially as I prepare to graduate from St. Thomas on Saturday. As I have eaten my honey nut cereal each morning (or at least the mornings when I chose to prioritize breakfast over those last few precious minutes of sleep), I have been drawn to consider that idea – the strength to keep going. What is the strength I have and what do I lack? What will get me through the very end of the semester, the emotionally draining goodbyes, the exit back through the Arches and into the mysterious summer? What will make the job search, the impending loan payments, the car purchase and everything beyond manageable?
I think that strength comes, like my breakfast cereal, day by day. As I have walked and lived on these campus grounds, St. Thomas has taught me to take one step at time to develop smarts and to develop virtue. It’s a work in progress, and I’m not done learning by any standard, but I have a drive to love well and live well that I simply didn’t have before college. I am seeking knowledge and grace anew, as well as a combination of patience, courage, trust, hope and humility. My prayer on my way out: Lord, grant me the patience to deal with things as they come, the courage to try, even if I’m not sure of succeeding, and the assurance that it will all come together in the way it's supposed to.
Thank you, family and friends, St. Thomas and the St. Thomas community, for a formative, enjoyable and memorable four years!