Commencement Means Beginning

What is it about long, late-night rides in crowded cars that make the oversung words of favorite songs somehow much more poignant? What is it about evening fog settling in on fields and forests in tiny towns that make me see so clearly? What is it about doing the Cupid Shuffle on a small concrete dance floor with my friends or compiling swing dancing techniques with a fellow education major that make me want to dance forever?

My time as a undergraduate student is coming to a close. Plans are already in motion for the next stage of life; I even have a job interview on Monday! I’m ready for the next steps and the new beginnings. I’m excited about the adventures.

And yet, part of me feels unfinished here. Maybe it is the battle between my head and my heart. Maybe it is the emotional turmoil surrounding a shift made by important people in my life. Maybe it is the ones who have little pieces of my heart, and the one or two who seemingly try to clamor for more of it. Maybe it is that the details for this mysterious “after-college” thing haven’t been ironed out yet. Maybe it is the simple fact that my final grades haven’t been posted yet.

Switchfoot swings:

And I got my heart set on what happens next
I got my eyes wide: it’s not over yet
We are miracles and we’re not alone

Even though many things would like to hold me back, when I examine my heart and ask God to point out what I could do at this point, I find myself at peace with the realization that I cannot change the past. I find myself aware that, as far I can see, I have said my apologies and thank-yous. I pray that I would be confronted in love if there is more I can do, but until then, I know I cannot belabor what is done. My heart is set on what happens next. Not the immediate plans, but the long-term. The plans for eternity. That’s where my heart is and that’s what I’m aiming for.

It seemed to me that college would last forever. As a freshman in the thick of schedule planning and paper writing and procrastinating, four years seems like a lifetime. And then you make it to seven days before graduation and you realize you had no clue what you were doing all those semesters. That student loan exit counseling sure is a reality check! My point is that college is short and real life comes knocking.

Maybe there’s a reason why “commencement” (aka graduation) means “beginning.” The act of graduation is a natural celebration for a healthy grieving process at the end of an undergraduate career, but it also the beginning of a new stage of life. It is more a beginning than an ending. And it is good. I am learning to take fear and worry and panic and turn them into joy and anticipation and adventure.

I am discovering that change can be good.

Welcome to a new beginning.

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