This will be my “swan song” since I have decided to retire after working at Marist for the past 23 years. I came as a new addition to the Counseling Office – the third counselor, and am leaving after the honor of being the Director of Campus Ministry and working with the Emmaus retreat program. I have been blessed throughout my years here and pray that I made a difference in the lives of some people who crossed my path. Many, many thanks to my colleagues who have supported me over the years, the many parents who have supported us in so many of our programs, and the students who have touched me and taught me so much! People have been asking me what I am going TO DO. Perhaps the best way of explaining my need to pull back and do some reflection on the next phase of my life is through this passage which I have edited from its original form:
“Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven’t thought about it, don’t have it on their schedule, didn’t know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine. I got to thinking one day about all those people on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back. From then on, I’ve tried to be a little more flexible. How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn’t suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word ‘refrigeration’ mean nothing to you? How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched your favorite program on TV? I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, ‘How about going to lunch in a half hour?’ She would gasp and stammer, ‘I can’t. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain.’ She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.
Because Americans cram so much into their lives, we tend to schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect! We’ll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Steve toilet-trained. We’ll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We’ll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college. Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of ‘I’m going to,’ ‘I plan on,’ and ‘Someday, when things are settled down a bit.’”
I am leaving here with a treasure of wonderful memories and enough gratitude to fill an ocean. May our great God hold you always in the palm of His hand.
Mrs. Claire Walls
Director of Campus Ministry