This is such a wonderful time of year for students all over the country! Graduation. Endings and beginnings. COMMENCEMENT. I’ve attended numerous commencement ceremonies as a dean at a seminary in New York City. And our director often talks about the word commencement The definition of this word is “a beginning or start”. Many of us think of commencement as an ending. Actually it is when we take what we’ve learned and step into life with new information, new wisdom and new discernment.
I have many people in my life approaching Commencement, one of them my own daughter Melissa whose commencement ceremony is tomorrow, honoring her receiving her Master’s Degree. Needless to say we are proud beyond belief. And one of my precious young friends Gemma is graduating high school this year. Both of these women make me proud and give me hope for our future. I see great things for and from both of them.
The energy of commencement makes me think about how I can view my own life from a place of new beginning or change. Of course change is always present, some of it unwelcome. Reflecting on the massive change in my own life in the last few years I realize that while some if it was, at the time, unwelcome, in retrospect it was all in my best interests and contributed to immense growth for which I am very grateful. So today, as so many people are about to step forward into the mystery of the future I take that same step, knowing that the gift of not knowing is at once exciting and a little scary…and making the decision to embrace the mystery with curiosity and hope.
For our grads I offer this beautiful blessing from one of my favorite writers:
May the light of your soul guide you
May the light of your soul bless the work you do with the secret love and warmth of your heart.
May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement.
May you be present in what you do.
May you never become lost in the bland absences.
May the day never burden.
May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.
~ John O’Donohue
STRETCH: Step out of the old and begin something new. Commence…begin…be brave…be curious. Celebrate your ability to make the choice to move forward with joy and anticipation.