“A bit of advice
Given to a young Native American At the time of his initiation:
As you go the way of life, You will see a great chasm. Jump.
It is not as wide as you think.”
— Joseph Campbell
May is the month of Graduations, ordinations and the like. The other name for “graduation” is “commencement.” The idea is that this is not a time of finishing, it is a time of beginning. I have seen many in my life, and they are always full of great joy, a sense of accomplishment and more than just a bit of dread. We move out of our comfort zones and on to the next adventure. It is exciting and terrifying all at the same time. And the difference between those two emotions is attitude.
The religious writer Charles Swindoll once said: “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes”
Victor Frankl, would agree, he wrote: “Everything can be taken from someone but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
This is what I told every class I have ever said goodbye to. I cannot promise you a trouble-free life. To be honest, I really wouldn’t want that for you, because it is through adversity and hardship that character, honor and integrity are fashioned. Jesus tells his disciples that they will face hatred and difficulty. But he does not tell them that they are all on their lonesome, facing obsta- cles by themselves. He gives them the Spirit to guide, to inspire, to encourage, to steel them for what they will inevitably face. It is to that same Spirit that we entrust you all.
We hope and we pray that whatever you may encounter, whatever you may endure, whatever you may brave, you will ultimately find your way, may ultimately find your passion, and you may ultimately find your destiny.
This is why I think that “safe spaces” on our college campuses are so reactionary, self- defeating and stupid. First of all, there are NO safe spaces anywhere… when you think about it. And second, the only time I have ever grown is when I felt incredibly uncomfortable, unnerved and awkward. Instead of avoiding these things, we need to face them and deal with them, because, guess what, that is how we grow, mature and even thrive. The chasm may SEEM expansive, but it ends up rather conquerable. So…
To all who are graduating this season, congratulations and JUMP!!