I am mindful at this time of year that many friends are in transition — taking new employment, retiring from the work force, moving from one level of education to the next, making permanent commitments through religious professions, marriage vows or ordination.
For most, such times of transition are exciting; new possibilities usually are. We like challenges. They test our imaginations. They push us to broaden our horizons. They are often a stimulus to growth in maturity and confidence.
At the same time, standing at the edge of such transitions can leave us with emotions we have to deal with. To move on — as exciting as the prospect may be — can carry a note of sadness about the possible loss of contact with friends and habits of life that have been familiar and life-giving.
And most of us, at such moments, would admit to at least a modest level of apprehension. Will retirement, this new school or this job that I have wanted for so long offer as happy and rewarding an experience as I have been hoping it will?
I think of our graduating seniors all over the diocese. This is truly an exhilarating time in their lives. They have had 13 years of school and now are bursting at the seams to move on to a new experience in the labor force, in military service or in college. I think all of us who are older than they are can identify with that. We have all been there and can understand the eagerness for new possibilities that so touches our seniors.
I think we all understand as well that these good sisters and brothers have been around long enough to understand that the road they’ll now travel — whatever their choices — will not always be glassy smooth. There will be bends, ruts and hazards along the way. And they will have to deal with them.
At our Senior Scene day for high school seniors at Sacred Heart Cathedral in late May, I had a chance to chat with a number of seniors from public and Catholic schools in many parts of our diocese. I loved their honesty and their sense of realism about what lies ahead of them. Yes, they are eager and enthusiastic. But, I also noted an awareness among them that there is no magic or automatic leap from where they are now to adult maturity.
They know that the journey to maturity is never-ending and requires continuing commitment, patience and a ton of support from people who care about them.
What pleased me the most as I chatted with the young people that day was their sense of faith. They expressed it in many different ways, but many spoke of the need for the Lord and of their confidence that the Lord will always be with them.
I am going to be seeing many high school seniors at graduations this month, and I expect that many of you have connections with young people who are finishing high school. I hope that we can all do our best to encourage them, support them and pray for them as they move on. Such gifts are no less important to them than they are to many of us.
Just as I came to the end of this writing, my niece, Grace, telephoned. Today she finished the last day of work at her current job and tomorrow starts her new job. The gist of what she had to say?: “Uncle Matt, I’m really excited and happy. But, I’m a little nervous too.” What can I tell you?
Peace to all.