From Debra Rienstra
When I first began teaching, I tried to have all my semester grades turned in before commencement, so that I could enjoy a sense of closure as I sat there in my academic regalia and watched graduating students stride down the field house aisle and into their future. These days, I don’t even bother to try to hit that deadline. I’m so slow and tired by the end of the academic year; I can’t push myself hard enough to make it. Instead, I usually stumble along right up to the Wednesday after commencement weekend, when the registrar insists we turn in our final grades.
I suppose I have simply gotten used to unfinished business. As more academic years slide past and pile up behind me, I have less a sense of closure in May than a sense of constant motion. Even this year, when two of my own children are graduating—one from high school and one from middle school—I’m having a hard time savoring the moment. It all seems to be flying past me in a blur.
Perhaps this is why Psalm 90 has been on my mind, a psalm about the passage of time, the ephemerality of life. For God, a thousand years are like a day, and our little human lives are quick as a breath and no more substantial. Humbled by this reflection, the psalmist pleads, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Teach us how very small we are. Melt our self-importance away in the light of divine perspective.