I didn't really want to go to school Mass this morning. I'm not feeling well, and, well, you know. But I threw back my hair, pulled on a pair of jeans and went.
As the small girls filed in in their uniforms, my mother asked me if I remembered being that small, wearing my uniform and lining up for Mass. I do.
During each school homily, our school priest Father Holloway addresses each grade specifically, offering up thoughts for each grade. His Gospel remarks are tailored to them, be it the squirming first graders in their tiny uniforms, or the world-apart tall eight graders preparing for graduation.
"Are you ready for high school?" he asked them, their heads bobbing. Then he told them they would encounter foolishness.
"Forget the foolishness -- just be you.
Forget the foolishness -- just be you."
Repeated twice, followed with:
"God has called you to the the best you can be in every situation."
I've been thinking a lot about graduation. Because I sort of just graduated myself. There was no cap and gown, or cake, or engraved picture frame. There was no, "Do you have your roommates picked out for the dorm?" or "What is your major going to be?"
In the biggest graduations, there usually isn't any of this. They usually happen quietly. and in solitude. In cars and in showers and in hotel rooms. They happen in a way that defies greeting card language. They happen when we are ready, and when we are not. They happen with tears, and brokenness, and beauty. There are no photo montages set to sappy music. (Class of '94 -- "These are The Days." Anyone?)
The thing is -- with most of life's graduations, you do not receive the world's applause.
Instead, you find it, inside.
When I graduated from college, my parents encouraged me to take some time off and travel, see the world. But I was determined to get to work as a reporter. There were news stories to write, headlines to make, mastheads to climb! (Dear current college graduates: if your parents tell you to chill the hell out and go travel, please do it.)
19 years to the month of my college graduation, this season makes a lot of firsts, with this biggie: it's the first time I don't have a job. No start date, no expectations, no title. No bundling up my identity into a few lines about what I'm going to do next.
And it's fine.
Fears? Sure? Tired? You bet? I've spent nearly two decades working my tail off -- sometimes wonderful experiences, sometimes not. And while I'm thankful for each of those years and experiences, this time now -- it's mine. (Is it too late to pass for 25 for that Eurail pass?)
Mostly now I'm just leaning in to trust -- in myself, in a plan greater than I could imagine -- in the possibility that comes with hard fought experience, in my story, and in my abilities. To make change. Unlike that girl of other graduations years ago, I know there is infinite possibility in me.
I am powerful beyond measure.
So are all the quiet graduates out there.
So, my message to fellow graduates, wherever you are, borrowed from a priest. There will be foolishness. Forget it. Remember who you are.