There Is No Graduation (And It's A Good Thing)
A few years ago, I went through the Holy Yoga 95 hour certification program and immersion. The program started on January 2nd ; aligning with a time many of us reflect back on accomplishments of the past year and compile our goals for the next.
A required reading for this certification is Eat This Book by Eugene H. Peterson. As a lover of the written word, I slurped up his discussion of consuming the Bible as you would a meal and benefiting in kind from the nourishment it provides.
Peterson states “Exegesis is the care we give to getting the words right.” He also writes, “This is not a task from which we graduate.“
This got me thinking. There are actually many events in life where there is no graduation!
And quite frankly, this is a new way of examination for me. I am very goal oriented. I love the process on birthdays and New Years of celebrating successes and envisioning new adventures for the future. The very nature of setting goals involves a built-in expectation of meeting the goal and moving on. Graduating, so to speak.
But what of all the ongoing aspects of our living? I think that I am guilty of thinking about how life “will be better” when certain graduations occur. For example:
“Being a Mom will be less challenging when our daughter is able to…”
“My job will be less stressful when…”
“My life will be made easier when…”
There’s nothing wrong with that thinking per se. It’s probably true a lot of the time. But if I am always looking ahead to that upcoming time, not only am I not living in the moment (maybe I’m even resenting the moment), but I’m also setting myself up for a fail.
There is no graduation from parenting. I will always be a parent, and there will always be new joys and challenges with every season.
There is no graduation from marriage. We vowed until death do us part. That is the intent (and separate bathrooms is a saving grace) despite any and all under-breath- muttering.
There is no graduation from citizenship. The benefits and responsibilities continue throughout age, location and majority political party changes.
There is no graduation from scholarship. As much as I’ve learned along the way these 38 years, I’ll continue to both learn and be schooled.
I must also add for my personal and continued reminding… There is no graduation from dishes. They too will continue in perpetuity. ALL of these graduation-less- nesses are blessings. For reals.
Because at first it can sound a tad depressing. No checking off on a list. No “I did that” bragging rights. I’m a fan of the felt satisfaction when tasks are successfully complete. But do I really want to check my marriage off a list? Do I really want to sit back forever from being a seeker? Do I wish to invest nothing more into my daughter? Of course not. (Though I may enjoy a George Jetson style does it all for you robo dishwasher.) So why would I expect things to change for the better as soon as an aspect of these roles is different? It may feel better or it may not.
The one certain thing is that change is coming and certain roles are unending. If I can wrap my head around a lot more NOT graduating, maybe I can also appreciate more the finer flow of the processes. Life IS about the journey after all, right? No wise person ever wrote “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one completed check box.”
This being said, I do have my New Year Intentions set (and they do have check boxes next to them for year end review). I’m not completely immune to the joys of list making!
One of my Intentions is to memorize 26 Bible Verses; one every other week. With the concept of not graduating in mind, I think I will start with Matthew 16:24. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Though I am going to memorize the NIV version above, the Message version is so eloquent and helps me better understand what it means to take up my cross: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?”
There is no graduation from compassion.
There is no graduation from following the Lord.
May we all have great success on this no graduation journey of letting the Lord lead.