I'm currently in LaGuardia airport in New York Citaaaaay waiting for my flight to Indianapolis to be called so I can head off to the Au Sable institute (driving to Michigan) to study field biology for a month. I've been chatting to the people around me--a dance company off to St. Paul for a week. They're connecting in Indy to a Chicago flight to do street performances for a few weeks. Airports are strange. At once you are nowhere, with a group of fellow (albeit anonymous) travelers, and yet you could be anywhere--prepared to travel to wherever you want "There" to be. There is a remarkable sense of freedom written into a terminal--the promise of "everywhere."
Yesterday was graduation. For upwards of 300 seniors, it marked entry into that oft-spoken of "real world." Because I was around for Residence Life duties (check-outs, cleaning the residence hall, etc.) I was asked by visitors and other campus drifters my plans for next year. "I don't have to know yet," I say. Because even next year, I don't have to know. As in the airport, I could be nowhere. Or I could be everywhere. Now, or when I graduate, or twenty years in the future.
It's been a good, hard, trying, challenging and amazing year, as most are bound to be if you were to make a list of their landmarks. And it would be easy to see getting on an airplane as an escape, to force myself into something New. But there's been an equipping this year, so that I am prepared to embark on my first-ever domestic flight and my first-ever time flying on my own. I imagine that's the gist of any commencement address and the goal of any speaker--to let graduates know that they have been PREPARED. It's the goal of any beginning, too--so that freshman and senior alike can feel safe up in the turbulent air that is any new experience.
As a variation on Southwest airline's slogan goes-you are now free to move...everywhere.
Peace this season, and godspeed.