As we approach the end of the semester, I have been talking with a number of students about their plans for the summer and the future. A number of my "regulars" in the library are graduating this week. Over the past few days many of them have made comments about seeing the "light at the end of the tunnel." They are glad to be finished with their studies and excited about their future. Although I must admit that I will miss them very much, I can't help but feel excited for them.
How well I remember the excitement I felt when I was at the same point in life! It's a complex feeling of accomplishment, nostalgia, excitement, relief and a little trepidation all rolled into a glowing ball that seems to fill every atom of your being and ooze out your pores! At the time, I believed that I'd never really feel that way again.
I was right. There truly is nothing exactly like the feeling that I experienced upon graduating from college with my B.A. and preparing to face the world for the first time, in many respects, as that wonderous and empowered being -- an adult.
I was also wrong. Over the years since that day I have experienced a number of major milestones in the journey of my life, including: starting graduate school, finishing graduate school, moving to another country, working in another country, moving back to the U.S. after an absence of several years, starting grad school again and graduating for a third time. Through all of these, God has blessed me with His presence and with new and equally exciting experiences.
Each milestone had its own "ups" and "downs" and its own blessings. Each one has served to remind me that the longer I follow God and the more I trust in Him, the better life will be. Just like the foothills and mountains in which I now love, every mountain and valley, every twist in the road of life brings new beautiful scenery. All I have to do is look up from the road and enjoy it.
It reminds me of the first stanza of a poem by Robert Browning:
"Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
the last of life for which the first was made.
Our times are in his hand
who saith, 'A whole I planned,
youth shows but half;
Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!'"
"Rabbi Ben Ezra" http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/295.html