All graduations are inspiring. The sound of “Pomp and Circumstance,” the robes, the proud parents, the festive decorations, the articulate young class representative quoting some hero or heroine. Love it.
But graduation at the Perkins School for the Blind is a truly beautiful, sacred occasion. I had the honor to join them last Friday, when eighteen wonderful young adults got their diplomas and walked off the stage into their futures.Their particular circumstances meant that the road to that moment had been particularly rich and challenging. And they had made it there with the support and love of a courageous and loving community of staff, teachers, and clinicians. They move out into a world where it is very hard for a young person with disabilities to find meaningful work, and where cuts in government funding and people’s assumptions about what they can and cannot do will create obstacles. They will need strong wills, caring friends and family, resilience, and all the academic and life skills they gained at Perkins in order to thrive.
If you live in Watertown, and you’ve not been to Perkins, make it your goal to show up there this summer. Take the official tour. Come to one of their public events. Get to know one of the staff members. And whether you go or not, sign this petition, so that young people like the ones who graduated last week have access to the same books you enjoy.
Here’s the invocation I offered at the graduation. May we all find ourselves in the fullness of time.
In the fullness of time: After all the beginnings -
New friends, new pathways, new semesters, new music to learn, new insights, new buildings on campus, new discoveries about your wisdom, your body, your beauty, your goals….
In the fullness of time: After all the middles -
The study sessions, the tutoring, the hanging out in the snack bar, the rehearsing and memorizing, the drafting and editing, the joys shared and the friendships forged, lives weaving together through countless conversations, the sounds of the 7th inning stretches, and the quiet of the middle of the night
The rain and the snow and snow and more snow, and seasons and storms and warm sunshine
In the fullness of time: After all the endings -
Assignments completed, grades given, lessons lived and learned, teachers retiring, the last notes of songs sung, the math MCAS finally over, the last radio show signed off, the film wrapped, after the shock of Patriots Day losses at the Marathon, and after the heroism of first responders, the letting go of small hopes for larger ones, small kindnesses for expansive compassion
In the fullness of all this, you are here and you are full of so much. May the one who created you and this moment bless this time of celebration.
May you be filled with amazement at the beginnings, the middles, and the endings, and may you know that you have come through it all in order to live, and love, and give, and thrive
May you breathe in the fullness of this time, and know that the fullness of time is a good time, your time, holy time, this time, and it opens up into more — more beginnings and middles and endings, where you will be blessed and filled again.
May God bless those who brought you to this moment — teachers and parents and donors and groundskeepers and cooks and mentors and pastors and friends — those whose hands and hearts gave tirelessly and generously to bring you to this full time.
May God bless this gathering, this time, and fill it with joy and thanksgiving.