To journey without being changed is to be a nomad.
To change without journeying is to be a chameleon.
To journey and be transformed by the journey is to be a pilgrim. 
––Mark Nepo, The Exquisite Risk
As I travel through yet another year of graduations with friends’ children, as well as my own, the journeys to the diplomas are as varied as the young adults themselves. One thing remains the same however:
This is a time of endings. And a time of beginnings.
A time between the “what was” and the “what could be.”
This is a time of shifting.
This shifting, as exciting as it may be, is also filled with unknowns. It’s in these unknowns however, that we are given choices. Sometimes those choices lead down difficult paths, sometimes not. Regardless, all choices are worthy of growth.
What’s on my heart this graduation season, is that we, who have already received the diploma, can simply walk beside those who have now earned theirs, knowing they have to navigate their own paths, whatever and wherever those paths lead.
Even if it might mean getting lost, as scary as that might be. For it’s in the wandering that beautiful things can happen.
Following is a snippet from Momentous Living that I’d like to share in honor of all our graduates this seasons.
When I was a kid, I got lost.
It happened in the women’s clothing department at JCPenney’s. I was with my mom and then I wasn’t. Like entering into a magical forest laden with opportunities of discovery, I had slipped into the heart of the circular display rack to explore fashion from a different perspective. I sat quietly within the womb of woven layers, breathing in life from my new inner world. When I finally reappeared from my adventure, my mom was no longer where she had been standing.
“Mom? Mom!” I cried. “Where are you?”
I never did find my mom. Instead, a very nice saleslady found me, took me to a back room, and made an announcement over the intercom, “Attention, there is a lost little girl looking for her mommy. Please come to customer service if she belongs to you.” Meanwhile, the nice lady gave me a sucker and I forgot all about being lost. When my mom claimed me at customer service however, I was relieved––candy or no candy––to be safe, back under the protection of my mom.
Recently, I was reminded of this childhood memory when a friend gave me a hat with two words embroidered on the front: Get Lost. Only in midlife, at least in my midlife, those words took on new meaning from my JCPenny’s adventure. For it’s in the middle, sandwiched between “the what was” and “the what could be” that things shift a bit. To find our way through to that place within where the answers were living all along, might require getting lost. It’s then, that the searching can begin.
American Idol winner, Phillip Phillips, sings in his hit song, Home, “If you get lost, you can always be found.” Apparently this resonated with a lot of people. According to Wikipedia, his song sold over five million copies in the United States alone.
These words “get lost,” suggest that much can be discovered in our wandering, in spite of the trials along our cloudy way.
And I’ll leave you with that, not that “that” is extremely motivating for graduates, but I do hope it resonates with reality as our adult children go out and explore the twists and turns of our great big world. Read the full story in Momentous Living, October 2016.
congratulations to our graduates who are in a middle.
May their journeys be theirs.