Thursday, April 19, 2007

Knitting a life~

I live in a college town. The same college I commuted to so many years ago. I commute now to my former hometown where I teach at the middle school, courtesy of the degree I earned in college. That so much of my life has been lived within such a small circle bothers me a little, but it is not important at all in the grand scheme of things. That so much of my life has been lived is what counts.

Today I walk across the Bridgewater State College campus to the Administration Building that stands behind a half-mast flag in recognition of the bond shared with Virginia Tech. There but for the grace of God . . .. 

In the shadow of the flag stands a group of potential students and their parents taking a tour of the campus, carefully scrutinizing, assessing, evaluating, deciding: is this college for me? 

It breaks my heart. 

I think of the 32 students killed at Virginia Tech, gunned down in cold blood by one who made the 33rd death the final one. 

Each chose Virginia Tech thoughtfully, for personal reasons-- my father went there, I got a scholarship, it has the degree program I want-- but none knew they might die because of their choice. Or the choice made by another. 

And such is life. Our lives are knit together, adding the yarn of others to our own strands. Hopefully something beautiful is created. Sometimes it all unravels. Long before the garment is finished. 

Those of us with kids going off to college have no more to fear than we ever did, really, though we may feel more vulnerable. Death has always interrupted-- anywhere, anytime, large scale or small, planned in madness or executed by random accident. 

Make your choices for the best reasons you know. Knit like there is no tomorrow. 

For those of us who have made it to midlife living 18 miles as the crow flies from our childhood home, be glad. Some decisions work for the good. Some knit a complete sweater, some don't. 

Life goes on with all its threats and promises. On campuses across the nation, hard lessons are learned, lessons for which there are no grade point averages. And the lives that are being knitted will be both tougher and more tender for the knots that tie the broken fibers together. 

When bells tolled across the nation at noon on April 20-- joining with the chimes at Virginia Tech-- in memory of lives lost, I felt the threads pull, weaving me more tightly into the warp of the larger tapestry that we all share. 

Those who mourn do not mourn alone. They are wrapped in a shawl knit by love and concern of those they may never know. 

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