As end of the semester stress sets in and students, myself included, spend later and later nights packing in the last few assignments before finals week, it becomes ever more important to take some time to breathe and remember why we’re here.

I took an hour and a half off from doing work this evening to attend the release party for Goshen Portraits 3, a book of essays profiling various people who live and work in the Goshen area.

This event was meant as a celebration of the work of many individuals who contributed writing, photography, design and powerful stories to the production of the book, but in the end, what it really celebrated was the same thing that is celebrated in the book itself:  lives well lived.

Many of the subjects of the essays were at the release party, including my own grandmother, who I wrote an essay about that was included in the book.

Being among a gathering of people whose sole purpose in coming together was to celebrate one another’s lives, and the stories that had been told in the book about years of work, of relationships and hardships and learning, gave me a little perspective on finals week and the stressful grind that life seems to become around semester’s end.

Listening to these stories reminded me that although it is important to put effort into school work, the real point of all this is to live a good life.  To enrich ourselves and make our lives into something that other people can learn from and find meaning in is a large, satisfying goal that gives me solace in times when I feel like cranking out another half-tushied essay might drive me over the edge.

So take a minute….


remember why you’re here.

Life is good.