This year is a really special graduation year. Not only are many members in our community graduating but more personal to me, my two brothers, Chris and Sam graduated from two different levels of education.
Listening to this past Sunday’s Quest Service (as I prepared to use some of its contents for our podcast episode), I couldn’t help but begin drawing a parallel between the coming-of-age theme, the people graduating, the world “emerging” from pandemic quarantine, and the cicadas emerging from 17 years of hibernation.
Yes, the cicadas. Have you watched the beautiful process of a cicada emerging from its shell? It cracks its shell and spends what seems like an eternity just wiggling tiny individual muscles in its body, slowly inching its way through the small slit in the shell. Then it extends itself in a gravity-defying back-bend that feels almost religious.
And I imagine the emerging graduates somewhat the same way as the cicadas. Taking minuscule movements with single individual muscles (in the form of single individual assignments or classes) that seem useless. What does the cicada need to wiggle its eyeball for when its body, not its head, is still stuck in the shell? Why did I have to write a paper about ancient civilizations when I am shooting for a degree in Calculus?* And the process of donning the gown, accepting the diploma, and turning the tassel is almost religious in our culture, just like the gravity-defying back-bend of the cicada.
The past year with the pandemic and the past many years with the political climate have all been extremely hard. And emerging from that with or without a degree in your physical or virtual hand!? That is soooo amazing! So congrat-freaking-lations to EVERYONE!!!
And in 17 years when my own daughter will be graduating high school and the cicadas will emerge in a swarm again, I will tell her about the year we all felt like cicadas breaking free from our underground holes, ready to climb into the tree branches and SCREAM at the top of our lungs (the sound muffled by the masks we refuse to take off).
What would you scream?
Special shoutout to some UUCC community members and friends graduating:
High school graduates Marie, Alena, Cameron, Alex, Samantha, Shayna, Zoe, and Elly!
Jen, Laura, and Karyn all graduated from divinity school!
Jenny, for obtaining her doctorate!
And anyone else I may have missed!! Comment below so we can congratulate you or your loved ones!
*Obviously, we can have the conversation about why or why not one should need to take an Ancient Civ class in college when they are hoping to graduate with a Calculus degree. But that’s not the point of this particular In Between Sundays.