Brand New Leaves: Thoughts on Graduation

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“Life is unpredictable,
It changes with the seasons,
Even your coldest winter,
Happens for better reasons,
And though it feels eternal,
Like all you’ll ever do is freeze,
I promise spring is coming,
And with it, brand new leaves.”

– e.h

I don’t think I ever really prepared myself for the inevitable end of college.

Goodbyes.

Packing up my nest.

I spent most of this year in denial.

There would be no goodbyes.

There would be no last times.

I made myself believe that time would stand still.

I made my website. I went to a conference. I went to portfolio reviews. And then on the first day of April, I cracked. I had a portfolio review the next day. I had very little sleep all week preparing for this review and was spending my class time arguing with the printer. And I left class on the verge of tears. My fears about the future and the stress that had been building up all year finally broke me. But I was going to work, and so tears would have to wait. Note to self: cry later.

I’ve had a lot of conversations with Morgen about this. 1,481 miles away and she has still been the voice of reason in my world. She has this uncanny ability to verbalize what I’m going through. She is the verbose princess. 

“I feel like I’m doing a lot of growing up at once,” she said.

And that’s really what it feels like. And it hurts, man. It’s frightening.

And it’s overwhelming, along with everything else. Like the ground here; it’s been brown since winter, but all at once, after the snow, it’s suddenly green, and there was no warning, and everything changes. And it’s beautiful but it’s new. Sometimes you feel like creeping back to what’s been, but that doesn’t mean that will stop spring from coming.     – The Verbose Princess

And spring is coming. Although it can be hard to see it. Or understand it. And with all of these goodbyes to say and decisions about the future to make, it’s hard to know which path you should take.

There’s an essay by Dr. A.W. Tozer (Miracles Follow the Plow) that seems fitting as our lives are ripped apart and pieced back together.

Break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness on you” (Hosea 10:12)

“…the cultivated field has yielded itself to the adventure of living. The protecting fence has opened to admit the plow, and the plow has come as plows always come, practical, cruel, business-like and in a hurry. Peace has been shattered by the shouting farmer and the rattle of machinery. The field has felt the travail of change; it has been upset, turned over, bruised and broken.

But its rewards come hard upon its labors. The seed shoots up into the daylight its miracle of life, curious, exploring the new world above it.”

School is all I have known for 17 years. I have measured my years in semesters and summer vacations. Year after year, it’s been the same. The path was straight and I knew it well. It’s hard to see that there is a place in the world outside of that for me. There’s a bend in my path. But like Anne Shirley, “I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.”

“It’s a rough time,” Morgen agreed, “but it’s got an expiration date. It’ll keep going if we do.”

But how? How can I keep going and going. I leave campus and all I want to do is curl into a ball and sleep. Or cry. And nurse a cuppa. In one of these times of crumbling, I received a letter from Morgen:

Yesterday I went for a run, the kind that is fueled by emotional necessity, rather than healthy motivation. I looked out at the piles of dirt and caught my breath, and remembered how amazed I was that these massive piles of dirt and stone stay standing through all the wind and rain. “What is holding this up?” And I wondered the same thing yesterday. And it occurred to me that I ask the same thing of myself. I look at myself and wonder if I’ll crumble, who I’ll hurt, and what I can weather. And God is like “It’s the same thing holding you both up.” So I’m a pendulum swinging back and forth between okay and crumbling, and that’s just where I’m at. But I can’t help but believe that this is an essential time.

Essential time. It’s true. It’s a step we must take. It hurts. It’s uncertain. But it’s important. It’s important for my future around that bend in the road. It’s important for my relationships with my friends and for my relationship with my heavenly father.

I have faith that God has a plan for me. But as cloudy as that is, I’m not waiting. And I don’t think I’m supposed to wait. I’ve been reading The First Time We Saw Him by Matt Mikalatos recently.

“We are inadequate to accomplish the impossible. We have insufficient power to do the miraculous. … He merely wants our participation. He could have made lunch for all five thousand people with a clap of his hands. …We ask for the miraculous, and he expects us to participate in the miracle he provides. We are inadequate and we realize we don’t have enough. He tells us to simply bring everything we do have. We bring it all even though it’s insufficient, and he makes up the difference using his divine power. …He tells a man with a twisted hand to stretch it out. he tells a man with withered legs to stand up and walk. At the very least, he asks us to participate in his miracles by having faith. He doesn’t need our faith to do the miraculous, yet he often tells people in Scripture, ‘Your faith has healed you.’ We provide faith or water or fish, and he provides the miracle. ”

Faith is not an idle grace. So I’m applying for jobs while praying for guidance… and a job.

 

Morgen: Young adulthood feels like a second puberty
Kelly: This is young adulthood?
Morgen: I don’t know…what is it? Emerging adulthood?
Kelly: putting adulthood into practice
Morgen: Training wheels come off, and here we go. Tassels on handlebars, helmets on sideways, elbows poised for cement scrapes.

We might be swinging back and forth between okay and crumbling, but here we go.

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