This is my column for the June edition of our diocesan newspaper "ChurchActs"
If you're a senior in high school it's almost here. The day you have been looking forward to for the last several years. The big day. THE BIG DAY.
Yes, the day when all the routines of your life for the last twelve years end. When more is going to be expected of you. The day when you are not only going to have to start making most of your own decisions but you're going to have to live with them. For better or worse. From that day on the concept of a job is no longer just a part time concept but rapidly becomes your full time life. Oh yeah, and that whole “summer vacation” thing? Pretty much ends on that day too.
Sure you thought that graduation day was going to be major party time. “No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks” forever and ever amen time, right? Off to college, or out into the world to get a job. Not a kid anymore. On your own, making your own rules, living large.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret: The easy part of your life is now over.
I get the feeling I'm not exactly making your day at the moment. That's OK it gets better from here.
Life does get more complicated from this point on. Beyond the college or not question you'll get into questions about marriage and mortgages, cars and kids, promotions and pension plans. Makes you long for the days when the biggest complication in your life was realizing you forgot to do a term paper. So you need to know that you don't have to go it alone. God has provided a graduation present for you. It's an easy one to forget to pack and take with you. It's your life in faith.
When I hit graduation day I was in a big hurry to leave most of my old life behind. There's an old joke that goes “When I went to college my father was dumber than a box of rocks. Four years later it was amazing how much that old man had learned!” As I've grown older not only did I discover how much my parents still had to offer me but also how my church still had to offer.
When times were hard my faith family has been there. I left my graduation present behind for a good number of years. I spent a fair while going it alone, away from my faith. I survived, even had a few successes. Those were easy to handle by myself. It was when things went wrong that it was toughest.
Let me be clear. I'm NOT saying you have to keep doing your faith life the way you did it as a kid. I AM saying that you need to keep doing your faith life. When times are bad it is a great comfort. In times of happiness it increases the joy.
The big day is almost here. Life starts getting more complicated. If you remember to take all your graduation presents you can face those complications with greater strength, greater joy, greater support. There's a complicate, exciting, scary, wonderful world waiting for you on the other side of that day. Let your faith help you to find the way into that amazing future.
Congratulations on graduation.