Graduation season is upon us and commencements abound. I, for one, am a fan of the whole thing. In spite of long lines, scorching heat, and waiting forever to exit the parking lot, it’s a thrill to see the students cross the finish line.  How can we not join in celebrating the culmination of years of hard work, victories won and challenges overcome? Nights of cramming, tears over assignments, final exams, and the struggles dealing with difficult professors—it’s all over!  It’s joyful and we want them to go forth and prosper.  Secretly, though, I wish I could talk to each graduate the next day. I’d want to encourage them not to forget the lessons learned.  I don’t mean the subject matter they studied, but rather the truth about who they are:  how they patiently persevered; endured and showed true resiliency; rebounded when they achieved less than what they had hoped for or even failed; grew in understanding people and relationships; perhaps survived times of loneliness, feelings of inadequacy, and maybe even despair.  I would want them to know when the rainbows fade or life throws them a curve ball, that they have what it takes to keep on keeping on.  I’d also ask them to tuck away three words for when they really need them:  “JUST HOLD ON”. There may be days when that is all they’ll be able to do, and that’s quite okay, until they can once again get back in the race.  For us onlookers, we have an assignment too. We have to continue to show up, to be that still, small voice that whispers truth when they have bought into the lie about who they are or what is possible.  We have to listen, guide and always celebrate when there is opportunity to do so. Graduation is the end of a chapter. There is so much more of each book to be written. How exciting it is!

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