Who is not stirred by the steady processional beat of “Pomp and Circumstance?” Even caps bearing strange painted messages, and some graduates acting casual and nonchalant do not conceal the serious sentiment of the exercise.
Like molten lava moving down the mountainside, sometimes rushing and crushing everything in its path, sometimes slowly and inexorably dominating the landscape, so every generation coming to adulthood takes its place.
I, for one, would trade my status as a “baby boomer” (such a lovely name!) for an “X,” even if the Generation X has technically now given way to yet another moniker. “X” represents an unknown quantity, and who can predict what will emerge from any arbitrary set of years defining the experience of a generation?
I would not have predicted that any modern generation would have been subjected to the crude tastelessness of Beavis and Butthead, the Simpsons, or Rush Limbaugh. I had not foreseen a modern world marred by catastrophic religious and ethnic conflicts in Nigeria and Syria. I had expected that attempts to dismantle national entities in other countries by either manipulation or force would not spread into the United States. Even dreamers of medical miracles shudder in the face of resistant strains of bacteria, or fatal viruses like Ebola.
Even by their pathos in the face of poverty, war, or disease former generations have made their mark, turning an “X” into transformative art, music, literature, and religion. We wait to see what marks will be made, what commitments, what achievements, what regrets.
Meanwhile the graduates process, and celebrate in the ways they have learned. We who made such moves years ago congratulate them on completing the stages and demands of childhood, not easy in any age– even a modern one. We look to see whether God is implanted in the souls and genetic material of these who now seek their place in an adult world. If so, the world will change again, but not get worse. They will make their mark, and somehow it will take the shape of a familiar cross.