This past week was graduation. My classmates and I were officially awarded our degrees (and our seminary is small enough that we were handed our degrees during the ceremony) and we begin to leave. Technically, we had already begun. Movers had been called, offers made on homes, leases signed. But this past week it became official. We will all be moving away. Away from this place we have loved and been frustrated by; away from each other; away from the friends who have years left in this place.

People like to ask me what I’ll miss. I always answer that what I’ll miss most is my class, these people. And though I’ll certainly see them again, it will never again be bumping into so-and-so on the way to the grocery store, or just popping over for dinner, or sitting up late with beverages of choice trying to fix the world and the church. I’ll miss my classmates, my friends, my family for never again will we have this sort of time and ease in which to enjoy one another.

So, although this is not a permanent parting, it is worth grieving. And I do.

And, at the same time, there is much to celebrate.  Our time here was never more than a training camp, a chance to make us less unprepared for the lives we are all going to–known and otherwise.  So, alongside my grief has been the joy of the future my friends are leaving for, futures to which they have been called, futures for which they have longed.  I know this longing because I am waiting to find that future in my life.  And I can imagine the joy with which such recognition is met.

And so we leave, moving on to the next stop, the next place, the next group of people we will learn to love.  We leave with joy and sorrow and anticipation.  Which is as it should be.