Dictionaries usually give two or more common definitions of milestone: 1) a stone set up beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a place, and 2) an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development. Since mid-March, the latter has suffered from what we normally do to acknowledge noteworthy accomplishments in the lives of others. Spring is the time that we celebrate graduations from high school, college, graduate programs, medical school and more. The young, old and those at various ages in between are excited to achieve educational milestones in their lives. They’ve work hard, made sacrifices that effect their lives and others, to mark a point in their development that calls for celebration.
I was one of those odd kids growing up. My mom struggled to buy the senior ring when I was nearing the point of high school graduation. I wore the cap and gown, and I unenthusiastically participated in the hallowed ceremony of marching and receiving my diploma. But I never really had a sense that I needed the pomp and circumstance. My family enjoyed the whole thing. Later, when I went off to college, I told myself that I wouldn’t do the graduation ceremony thing, and I didn’t. It’s been so long ago that I graduated from college that, if memory serves me right, I think my degree was mailed to me. Yeah, I know, you might be saying that I denied my loved ones the opportunity to see the first in our family to attend college get his degree in a glorious graduation ceremony. We introverts do things that others can’t always understand.
As I think about my attitude regarding participating in pomp and circumstance, I must remember others don’t think the same as I. This year’s graduation season has been visited by the dark visitor sir named the Coronavirus. This creature from Friday the 13th, or some other dark and shadowy dimension, has crept unto the stage of normality just in time to disrupt so many transitional events of life: graduation ceremonies of folks who have worked hard to move onto another stage in life; the joy of playing and watching many springtime sporting event; time in parks and numerous other green spaces to enjoy the annual budding of spring colors, etc.
When given a challenge, people have this ability, this creative nature to find a way. Back in May, I was working in my front yard, and suddenly I heard the honking of horns and loud music coming down my street. I looked up and there for all eyes in the neighborhood to see was a parade of vehicles passing my house and turning into the cul-de-sac in across the way. This parade was headed toward the house of one of our neighbors to celebrate the college graduation of their daughter. The moment contained all the pomp and circumstance you would expect to see in a college campus auditorium, except the fine regalia and modestly inspiring speeches. Some of the passengers even got out of their cars and proceeded to dance in celebration of the event. One of the local television stations had assigned a photojournalist to capture the event, which was later broadcasted. The whole thing was a moment to remember, and I’m sure our young neighbor will never forget.
Humans love celebrations. Since the start of 2020, we’ve been amazingly creative in finding ways to mark milestones with appropriate celebratory actions, despite the Coronavirus.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.