Life is moving so fast these days, I can hardly keep up with the parade of calamities. I wonder… how do you survive having your baby ripped out of your arms during a tornado… or learning that the maid who helped raise your kids also had a baby with your husband? And what is it like to have your home and farm drown in the Mississipi River… or to be an international VIP shackled in court as a sex offender? How does one bear life’s unbearable surprises… like being a president lying in a hospital room with burns over forty percent of your body or a mother who’s just lost her son in Afganistan? And how do you live with yourself after you’ve torpedoed your career and your marriage by tweeting images of your weiner, especially when your last name is “Weiner”? How do you not notice the irony a little sooner?
There are so many ways to implode or suffer these days. But every once in awhile we enjoy a small respite. This weekend my son graduated from high school. And while graduation ceremonies can be mind-numbingly tedious (we attended three in one week!), I enjoyed every minute of this one, not just because my son was graduating, but because the officials kept their speeches short–so that every one of the 140 graduating seniors could be honored by a special teacher or mentor. About each senior, a story was told, a gift was celebrated, effort was applauded. In such a ritual-poor society as ours, sometimes, very occasionally, we get it right.