Well. My room is clean…ish.

I am about 2 hours shy of moving out of the house forever.

I finished doing the best job possible of cleaning the black death from the window sills, I fought off the man-eating evil that dwells in the empty refridgerator downstairs, and I killed the fiendish dragon that was the upstairs bathroom by cleaning it’s dirty scales ’till they shone like the dawn.

All in all. The house is cleaner than I have ever seen. I just ate my last bowl of breakfast oats here. It’s time to go to camp.

If ever you wonder, it has been great living here. I will miss all the guys, I will miss things about college, but at the end of the day…I think the Lord moves us to better things as we go. Thanks for 4 great years SPU. Thanks for several months of great living my housemates. Thanks to all the friends and family who stood with me as I walked through college. You are great. I’ll be back in seattle in September.

I will be living with 8 high school guys the whole summer. Pray for me.

Advertisements

I finished with college today.

Yes. I officially am a graduate. Very strange feeling really. I woke up today feeling like I was fixin’ to be on the brink of a new and different day. As I ended it, that feeling didn’t change so much.

I spent time trying to be ready for what was to come, but I really feel like there was no real way to do so. I guess that maybe I was just lying to myself. Oh well.

I got to graduation and spent a significant amount of time trapped in a subterranean basement chamber trying to be organized into numbers that allowed for an alphabetical arrangement. Lots of people ended up going against the grain and sat with the people they wanted to sit with, that seemed silly to me because there was an order for a reason. Right? Of course right. In the end I got to sit with friends who did that, but I held strong. Their choices made my time far more bearable when we sat.

Then I trooped out to my seat amid a crowd of graduates to general screaming from families and friends.

I sat down. For about 3 hours. It wasn’t bad, but it was surely not the most comfortable thing ever. I sent many text messages. I also critiqued middle names with Amy McNair and Maisha Seebeck. Fun stuff.

Eventually after cheering for lots of people, I got up there, gave President Eaton a hug (lifted him off the ground), got my degree holder, and then went back to my seat. It was all over in seconds. I sat down and I was a college grad.

After this I went out to dinner with the folks, Came home, Saw some friends, bought myself a beer (yes, singular), and then hung out until now.

These are my thoughts:

In general graduation happened really fast. There was a massive build-up in which I have experienced most emotions known to man that lasted about 2 weeks, but the event itself was really quick and easy. I would say it was too quick and easy.

For all the time that it took us to get there, it ended fast. Not that after 4 years of university I really desired a long and drawn out sort of experience to end it. I was ready to be done, but somehow I think being done only really started with graduation. Does that make sense? I mean in most ways we have finished college. We graduated. Yet, it seems to me that there’s a lot more work to be done in fully and properly processing this time.

I have been in college for 4 years. 4 years of my life is built around and in patterns related to higher education. Suddenly, I am no longer in college. How do I learn to deal with the reality of life in a completely new and foreign context in which all decisions suddenly become my responsibility? Ah, yes. That’s why I say that we’ve only just begun to be done. I doubt that we will ever be done fully. There are things that we will never be done with founded in college and rightfully so. These are things like learning, relationships, staying healthy, and so on. These thing should keep going.

On the other hand, 16 years of my life has taken place in school. I know the world of being a student. It’s comfortable. Being a graduate means not being a student anymore (for the time being). It took me 16 years to learn to be a student. How long will it take for me to learn to adapt to life not as a student? That needs to happen. Sadly, we can’t keep running out to Dick’s burgers at 2am. I get tired. Bed time gets earlier. Dare I say that at some level we all need to stop being in college so we can learn to be adults? Perhaps it’s too bold. Still, think about it…How would you do the things you want to do after school if school never ended?

It hit me every once in awhile today that I am going to go to camp for the summer and when I come back, the likelihood of some people having left is fairly high. How many of my fellow graduates will be about? How many of them will I never see again? Those are hard questions.

On a more theological standpoint, I suppose that we need to step into the unknown. If we stay where life is safe, how can we learn to trust God with our present and future? Interestingly enough, I believe that the same God that brought us to this place and helped us cultivate the community that we are graduating out of is the same God that goes with us where we go in the future. God gave us what we have for the time in which we have had it. He was with us the whole time. He never left.

Our present and future as graduates (and otherwise) are being guided and shaped by God’s relation to us. It seems silly to expect anything less than more and more great experiences and growth from the God that shoos us into His service through an inexorable moment like graduation that is itself only the culmination of 4 years of blessing.

Perhaps what I am trying to say is that the Lord is was with us when we came to SPU.  He was with us while we were attending SPU. He is still with us now as we leave SPU. In each of the first two stages I have seen God bless me. Through friends, experiences, hardships, etc…You name it, and I have been blessed through it. My life has been used for my good (and hopefully for the good of others.) The Lord has drawn closer to me. That is super cool. Why would the God of the universe who loves us all more than we could ever know or explain want to stop drawing near to us? I can’t conceive of anything.

With that in mind maybe we should be rejoicing. I guess if we’re really realistic we know that in college the Lord has revealed more of himself to us and will keep doing so. Graduating means more Jesus. So in that case I submit that perhaps graduation is the best thing for us at the moment. We get to keep moving forward towards God. It hurts, it’s confusing, we lose things we know, but what we gain in the Lord outweighs everything else.

Yes. Today I am no longer a college student. I am a graduate. I have experienced some loss as a result and will continue to experience more. However, it is because I am no longer a college student that I am given the greatest of possibilities. I am given a life in which the Lord can work. I am given the grace to follow. I am granted the fullness of opportunity to follow the Lord like Abraham did when God called him to a land that God would show him.

He didn’t know where he was going, but the journey with God that was Abraham’s made his life one that reflected God so much that He is the father of judeo-christian faith. In graduating we get the chance to be like Abraham. We get the chance to have a relationship with God that takes us somewhere new, unexpected, and altogether worthwhile. Cool, isn’t it?

I finished with all my college classes today.

I finished with all my classes in college ever. It was a strange feeling. It was like being freed from lots of things, but realizing that many of them were things I actualy liked. In fact it was exactly that.

Oh well. Life moves on I suppose. My friend Lindsey and I talked for awhile last night and I needed her to tell me several times that “It was going to be okay.” It took me a bit for that to sink in. I don’t know that it has yet.

I guess with this all ending (college) so soon…I don’t know that I really know what to do with it. I have no functional context to put this moment in. I haven’t done this before. I guess there are only some things you can prepare yourself for by doing…Graduation just may be one of those things. Deep sigh. Haven’t cried yet. I’ll get there.

I am listening to a song from the Legend of Zelda. Yes. It’s video game music. You should give it a shot. http://www.skreemr.com/results.jsp?q=Legend+of+Zelda+gerudo Listen to the third one down. It’s cooler than you think.

I’m going to try and make the most out of these next few days. I was in my friend Bob’s office today and came to the conclusion that i didn’t regret this experience. I believe that I have made good use of my time (apart from the hours I wasted Freshman year) and like the things that I have been able to experience. At the very least I am leaving with the knowledge that I am proud of the things I chose to do and the experinces I had. High five to me? Yes. I think so.

These are the days that I might be missing soon.

Things I am thinking about with regards to the upcoming change in life:

Okay, so I won’t miss finals. I won’t miss tedious homework. I won’t even miss paying tuition or other such costs.

Yet…

I actually will miss sitting in classes that were a sporadically proper mix between dull and wonderful.

I will miss sunny days in which the value of free time is intensified by the fact that I have to go study for finals. 

I will miss lying idly in the grass in the sunshine for awhile until someone I know appears and decides to sit and chat for however long they please. 

I will miss the nights of heading out to seven eleven randomly at midnight because we are in college and get hungry.

I will miss the ease of availability of wisdom from and relationships with professors.

Among other important things, I suppose in general I will miss the context in which my relationships exist now. This context will soon change quite drastically for the first time in 16 years of education…

You might say I am getting somewhat nostalgic. I ought to be outlining for my ethics final, but I really couldn’t commit at the moment. I needed to think about a few things.

I was talking to friends today and I realized that I am feeling just about every emotion possible about graduation. I feel sad to be leaving, happy to be done, wistful that it has to end, pleased to be moving on, it keeps going. There is a sense of loss that I am experiencing. It hurts a bit, knowing that some things end and you don’t get them back. That life moves on and you don’t get to keep living in the wonderful context you have loved.

But there’s also good things. Life is good because the source of life is good (God). There are things that are worth doing that will bring personal satisfaction after college. In fact, those things might even be better than college. I wonder if in some ways we have created an artificial experience here. School is 16 years if you go to university. Life is about…80 years or so. That means that at this point I have 60 years of life to live left. That is more life than I have ever thought about living. There quite honestly must be more than college.

Honestly, I have loved college. It has been great. So many good memories, so many useful lessons, so much learned, so much experienced, so much development. Yet, every step that I have taken in life till this point has resulted in life that is fuller –at times more complicated perhaps–but fuller and more worthwhile nonetheless. Walking through each new door and leaving behind a great experience while taking relationships and what you’ve learned with you, inevitably finds something new. You are different, the world is different as a result, and somehow it is better.

My friend Johanna quoted John Mayer to me in high school saying that “the best of me is still hiding up my sleeve.” I think that ought to be what we graduates should be looking for. Not necessarily the recreation of the college experience, but perhaps more of the full-participation in God’s plan for us as a result of our college experience. The real us is negotiated every single day. Each day we grow, we learn, we hurt, we eat food, etc…But each day we are in a process of becoming. You weren’t the person you were yesterday, neither am I. Something is different. Maybe it’s just today, but somehow I think it has more to do with us. 

Maybe the point of what I’m trying to say is that somehow I’ve got to learn to put this lovely, wonderful, dear to my heart, and all-too-short experience in the context of a life that is 80 years long (God willing). It has been the culmination of my studies thus far to graduate college with a degree, but the culmination of my studies doesn’t necessarily translate into the culmination of life as it is meant to be. We can’t stay in college forever, and so as graduation looms it would seem that I have to learn to see value and life in terms of a new context. Rather than ask, what the post-college context looks like, I wonder if I have even been asking the right questions or thinking about the right things.

I have been asking “what will change? and how do I adjust to that?” I think that maybe I should be thinking in terms of “God never changes. I do. How do I walk with Him through this?” Honestly, the scariest thing may be the uncertainty of the rest of life that comes at this point. Still, I don’t know that the rest of life is necessarily where my focus needs to be. Nor on the size of the change that I face. Just maybe the focus that I need to have is on the immediacy of the eternal God in this moment, and in all future moments like this one. In every step that I take, I move towards something that God has prepared for me. “The LORD Himself goes before you and He will be with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 could be that verse that we could all hear. Especially me and the other graduate sorts.

Real life in T-minus 11 days and counting. For those of you who I say goodbye to and never see again in a week from Sunday, goodbye in the Kingdom of God is a bit of a silly thing to begin with. There’s this thing that they say in the movie He-Man. They say “Good journey.” It’s interesting how accurate that is to our experience as Christians. We are on a journey with the sovereign God to an unknown land that He will show us. God invited and guided us onto the path, is with us on the way, and He will meet us all at the end. If I don’t see you again in life after graduation, it is there that I hope to see you. It is there that all will be as it was meant to be. It is there that we will see that goodbye was always a shortsighted phrase and that perhaps we were never as far from each other as we thought. On that day, you save me a high five. They never get old.