This is the time of high school graduations. All across the country kids are donning caps and gowns and walking across stages to receive diplomas and a hearty congratulations for a job well done. They have completed their classes, written their last papers and gotten final grades. It is the end of something important that makes way for the beginning of something else—college, work, service, a “gap year.” A heartfelt congratulations to our outstanding Sr’s and prayers for their next chapter.
I have known a lot of high school graduates over the years, including my own two kids. A lot of kids, while celebrating their accomplishments at the completion of their Sr. year, feel a lot of pressure “to know” for sure what comes next. They feel that if they don’t very carefully choose the “right” next step, they will never recover. The truth is that for most people it is not making the best decision prior to going to work or college, but it is making the best of the opportunity once you are there that makes all the difference. If you talk to most people who have been out of school for awhile, they will tell a story of falling in love or stumbling into an opportunity which changed everything.
Going to college or going to a new job are good examples of what most of life’s experiences hold. A lot of things in life are not what you expected them to be. Some things are better. Some things are worse. Most things are a mixture of both. What makes living an art is that it is not at all about “knowing” ahead of time what will be best, in fact it being willing not to know and trust that God gives you what you need as you are open to the moment.
The truth is that most kids change their minds before they settle on a career path, both of my kids did. Sometimes changes need to be made—colleges, jobs, homes, or your mind. But in the end is not about finding the perfect place, or simply settling for just anyplace. Somewhere in between there is trust, hope and openness, which can transform any old place into someplace you never imagined it could be.