While I may have faced what many say is a life of extraordinary challenges, in the end my story is everyone’s story. We are, all of us, living ordinary lives and life is providing us with our measure of joy, sorrow, truth, and beauty. Throw in a few cosmic slaps of enlightenment (along with a thousand other thoughts and feelings), and there you have it – our shared human experience.
When I received my diploma, tied with purple and gold ribbons, I wholeheartedly embraced the meaning behind the seal of the University of the South: Ecce quam bonum, which, loosely translated, means “see that which is good.”
It is true that the course of my life has sometimes been difficult, fraught with roiling rapids. There have been times when I could see no good whatsoever in my life or in the world. I’ve had to dig deep for the determination to keep going. I’ve had to look depression, fear, and disappointment squarely in the face.
Today, my perception of that inscription in the university seal, Ecce Quam Bonum, has a very different meaning than it did when I took my diploma in hand and headed out into the world. It communicates a far deeper meaning—struggle, controversy, disappointment are a part of life. But right next to such difficult events may be found an alternate meaning affording a richer dimension of understanding. Joy and love are ever-present in our circumstances, whatever those circumstances may be.
Fasten your seat belts. We’re on a wild ride in this life of ours . . . so, be on the lookout for truth, beauty, hope, and goodness along the way.
Sue W. Martin