In roughly two weeks, I will graduate college. I will walk across the stage and receive my diploma, shaky ankles trying not to trip in the heels I will inevitably wear because I’ll want to look my age. I’ll cross an imaginary finish line. Achieve a life long goal a year early. And honestly? I won’t remember most of my classes. Or professors. Or the 100+ books I have read as an English major.
I’ll remember moments of bliss, unadulterated joy at the first signs of growing up. I’ll remember the feeling of walking into my first apartment, and calling it home. I’ll remember the moment when I surrendered to Jesus.I’ll remember sitting on a plane with strangers headed to Kenya. I’ll remember the dark days when I didn’t want to crawl out of bed, and learned how to ask for help in the process. I’ll remember learning about mental health. I’ll remember the time I chose to end toxic relationships. I’ll remember living in New York. I’ll remember the months of sickness, stripped of any answers but learning to trust God in the process. I’ll remember seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time. I’ll remember feeling hope for the first time after going off of antidepressants. I’ll remember exploring Europe with my best friend. I’ll remember falling in love.
I haven’t faced a life change this significant since high school, but this time it feels different. Like I’m on the precipice of my adult life, staring my future in the face. It’s not a bad feeling, necessarily, just new. Last time I wore a cap and gown, I had no idea who I was. I had no clue that my life would dramatically change during my college years. No idea who I would become. That I would graduate with honors in three years.
And I look back at this season that has been college for me, and it looks very different from a lot of my friends. It was painful. It was unexpected. It was sometimes so dark, I didn’t know if I would ever get my degree. But in the midst of the shadows, I have re-built the foundation on which I will build the rest of my life. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: life is a series of moments. Of seasons, good and bad, that shape who we become. And we never stop becoming. It’s a journey. And that’s what I’ll remember. I think college is supposed to be about becoming and growing and loving and learning. And when I graduate, when you graduate, we still become.
“‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” Margery Williams Bianco The Velveteen Rabbit