This fact, which I have long suspected, was brought into sharp relief for me this past weekend.
Exactly a year ago, I walked across two different stages in Milwaukee and graduated from Marquette University. The time has flown. It is hard to believe that was a whole year ago.
What is even more difficult to believe is everything that has happened in the year since then. I feel like the people I have grown to be family (because ‘friend’ is not a strong enough word and ‘framily’ is a stupid one) with this year in JVC have been in my life forever – a true family. In that sense, time has stood still for me this past year.
This weekend, I was able to spend time with friends new and old – one of my best friends from Marquette visited me in Brooklyn, and I spent the weekend with her, along with JVC brothers and sisters from Hartford, Bridgeport, Scranton, Harlem, Portland, Newark, and Washington, D.C. Several times throughout our time together, I found myself humming a song I’ve known since I was a Girl Scout: Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold. What the song doesn’t specify is which friend, old or new, is silver, and which is gold. I don’t think it matters. What the song also fails to mention, is that the people in your life will help you find your true self.
As I looked out from the roof of a central Harlem apartment building at the treetops, skyscrapers, housing projects, church steeples, elevated trains and the baseball stadium-that-shall-not-be-named of New York City, surrounded by laughter, music, love, and spaghetti (yes, we’re a group of grown-ass adults who had a serious food fight), I think I felt my heart begin to break.
I’m not sure I know what heartbreak feels like, but the constricting sensation I get in my chest when I consider the fact that in two and a half months, our year together as JVs will be over must be something like a breaking heart. But maybe, when your heart is full to overflowing with love, it has no choice but to break, in order to expand and become whole again, this time bigger and able to hold even more memories and love than before.
Time and time again this year, I have been reminded of Pedro Arrupe’s call to find God and fall in love ‘in a quite absolute, final way.’ The relationships I have formed have made me a better person, a better friend, a better teacher. This year has decided what gets me out of bed in the morning, what I do with my evenings, how I spend my weekends, what I read, whom I know, what breaks my heart and what amazes me with joy in gratitude. This year, in JVC, I have fallen in love.
It has decided everything.