Celebrating is a funny word. It is used in so many ways. We celebrate weddings. But in church parlance, at least, we celebrate funerals as well. This flies sometimes in the face of how people are feeling as a funeral nears, but in faith terms (resurrection terms) it makes perfect sense.
I bring this up because this afternoon Boston College is having a farewell reception for me and for our administrative assistant here at the C21 Center who also is leaving this summer. It is very gracious of the university to do this, and to bring people together in this way. It will provide an opportunity to see and talk with and express gratitude to the many people across Boston College who have worked with this office and with me so graciously over the last several years.
At the same time, this gathering falls into that mode of feeling like you are present at your own wake – living, that is! John Garvey, the outgoing Dean of BC Law School and the new President of Catholic University in Washington, DC spoke at the farewell gathering for him recently. He told the story of a person whose farewell celebration took place on a day sometime prior to their actual departure. The following day a co-worker stuck his head in the office and said to the honoree, “There you are! Forgotten, but not gone!”
We’ll see if there’s a bit of that feeling inside this afternoon, especially as I’ll be here from today, July 13th, until August 13th!