Today was my last day of undergraduate classes. Everything is seeming sort of surreal, and I’ve been watching a lot of TV in the background while I work on a variety of papers and assignments, so I’ve started thinking of a number of things in terms of analogies, even more than usual. For example, I recently submitted my 61-page thesis, on which I had gotten a lot of comments and indication that there was plenty of room for improvement (which there was) from my mentor. Feeling somewhat badly about this, I said to myself, “That’s okay. You were a little shaky on beam, but you’ll get it on bars!” as I prepared to do a practice defense. (Clarification: The Paper is the Beam, the Defense is the Bars. Yeah, well, things are crazy.)
Unfortunately for those who went to the theater with me, I recently saw “The Avengers,” which led to a deal of shouting “THERE HE GOES!” along with high kicking, walking unnecessarily dramatically, punching the air in slow motion, pretending I was about to fly away, having that pretend quickly ended by gravity, and occasionally, hollering, “THERE’S NO TIME!”
That last one has probably come to mind the most. There’s NO time. We’re at the end of my undergraduate career and I know that sadly, some of these people I’m not going to see again. I was going through a bit of a rough patch and a conflict with a dear friend, and I remember thinking, “There is NO time to be at odds right now. We got X number of weeks left and we need to be spending it the right way. THERE’S NO TIME!”
Interestingly, I’ve mostly felt this way about my relationships. That is, I haven’t been going to my professors and begging for more work because there’s no time left for me to keep doing undergraduate work, if that made any sense. I’ve got five more years of study partying, so I think that bit’s covered. I’m going to miss my current school, and I’m so disgruntled that some programs are starting that I’m not going to be able to participate in at all. The time that I’ve got with this university and the amazing people at it is limited, and I desperately want to make the most of the week (AHHHHH!!!!) I have left.
It’s really a wonder that I don’t feel this way in general. I think graduation snuck up on me- at least I’ve known for a good four years when that date would be. But I don’t know when the endings of so many different things in my life will be. I have no authority over when I might lose a friend, a connection, an object, an opportunity, or even my own life. I don’t get to say, or even know, when this world will end. It may very well be that there is no time.
We don’t need to go all Avengers and start firing imaginary bullets that never hurt anyone (I like feeling epic, but only with Nerf guns) while we holler things at our teammates who may or may not be actually playing along, wearing all black, and constantly getting new messages on our awesome-looking headsets. There’s a battle going on, a serious one, but it’s for lost souls, not so much for physical territory. And it is for that battle that we need to be aware of how very little time we have.
I don’t know how long I’ll get to see a certain friend on a weekly or daily basis, but I also don’t know how long I’ll get to share the love of Christ with certain people. Sometimes I may literally have a matter of seconds. It’s serious stuff.
The reason why this isn’t extraordinarily stressful is that it’s not all on me. My strength and my purpose comes from Christ. If I mess up, we’re not going to lose the planet earth to the Frost Giants. We know for sure who the Victor is, and we just have the amazing opportunity to be a part of it and to prepare for Him to come back.
As Jesus says in Matthew 24, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
As for now, I’ll keep doing awkward little tumbles and kicks and giving out lots of good hugs, but I’ll also be keeping in mind that this is just one ending. There are so many other stories that are only halfway through or are just beginning, or perhaps there’s another little scene coming after the credits, and I don’t want to slip off my guard for them. I want to make the most of every opportunity.