On Tuesday my daughter Isabel graduated from high school. It was a beautiful ceremony and the end of a four-year period of hard work for her and her classmates. She now begins the next leg of her journey and heads to university later this summer.
As I thought about this year’s graduates moving on, I remembered my great-grandmothers journey as a young woman in the early 1900s. She was married and pregnant and like many, probably thinking about how to provide a better life for her family. She left southern Poland on a trip across the Atlantic to the U.S. where she would give birth to my grandfather so that he would be a U.S. citizen. They returned to Poland soon after his birth and he later returned to the US as a young adult. I can only imagine how terrifying it was to cross the ocean to a new country and I’m amazed and grateful for her courage. I wonder what my world would look like had she not made that journey.
Isabel is now on her journey navigating the transition from high school to college. This year's graduates will be figuring out who they are, their place in the world, and the impact that they want to have on those around them. Having witnessed the thoughtfulness and care that these young women exhibit and the empathy they have for those around them, I have no doubt that they will make the world a better place.
Quoting an Irish blessing – May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the warm rays of sun fall upon your home, and may the land of a friend always be near. Congratulations and good luck to all those graduating this year.
Take care and stay safe.
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, The Covenant of Water is set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and follows three generations of a family that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning—and in Kerala, water is everywhere. At the turn of the century, a twelve-year-old girl from Kerala’s long-existing Christian community, grieving the death of her father, is sent by boat to her wedding, where she will meet her forty-year-old husband for the first time. From this unforgettable new beginning, the young girl—and future matriarch, known as Big Ammachi—will witness unthinkable changes over the span of her extraordinary life, full of joy and triumph as well as hardship and loss, her faith and love the only constants.
A shimmering evocation of a bygone India and of the passage of time itself, The Covenant of Water is a hymn to progress in medicine and to human understanding, and a humbling testament to the difficulties undergone by past generations for the sake of those alive today.