The Blessing and the Shaking of Hands

When I end a course at Penn State, I always read the Irish Blessing to students. I actually read it over them, like a proper blessing. I tell them I’m not Irish, and I’m not Catholic, but still. Everyone needs someone to bless them at least once in their life.

I cry nearly every time.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Students cheer for one another and for a class completed. They stand and often shake hands with one another and with me. As I send them off into the world, I think about their future selves. I might not ever see them again, but once, in the spring of 2018, we wrote together all semester. I was there, and so were they.

I pack my teaching bag of vivid verbs, and I travel home.

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