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The Graduate

Graduations are part of life

Megan Kinsella
MSN Class of 2013

(5/2014) Well, itís safe to say that the April showers are over and the May flowers have begun (I say as I cross my fingers under the table). One of the biggest themes on my mind this particular May is "graduation." It seems as though everyone in my life is graduating from something recently. My 2-year-old nephew is graduating from diapers to pull-ups (or at least his mother hopes he is). My brother is soon graduating ranks in the Coast Guard, from Lieutenant Junior Grade to First Lieutenant. My dad will soon be graduating from the 6-year-long education process to become a deacon for the Catholic Church. All of my senior friends at Mount St. Maryís are graduating from college. I myself am graduating from my job as a missionary to move home, get married, and start a family. In addition, after this month Iíll be "graduating" from my post as the Graduate writer for the Emmitsburg News-Journal.

In a sense, we are all constantly graduating from things of the past and moving on to things of the future. We are always going to be graduating from different stages in our lives, looking for what else life has in store for us. In my own life, it seems like recently I canít get away from graduation! I walked across the stage to receive my diploma from the Mount exactly one year ago, and now am preparing to graduate from my time as a FOCUS missionary. Iíll soon be graduating from single status to married, and then when we start having our own children the graduation process will begin all over again!

Graduation inevitably always brings change. How many of us can honestly say that we truly enjoy change? If I had to guess, I would say a very select few. However much we may not enjoy it though, change is always going to be a very necessary part of our lives. Change brings new beginningsó and a lot of times, they better beginnings.

Imagine if the seasons never changed. How miserable would that be? Yes, Iíll admit winter has never been my absolute favorite season, but without winter there could be no spring! Without a change in seasons, there would be no new birth; the earth would be in an eternal, constant state of stagnancy. Even though the winter can be uncomfortable sometimes, it is always going to be worth the little bit of pain. The earth is simply preparing itself for something greater!

The same goes for change in our own lives. Change is never comfortable. When we accept change in our lives, we leave the comforts of what is familiar behind us, and we venture out into completely new, unchartered territory. With change, we almost never know what to expect, but we can always be sure that the adventure will lead us to something greater than we ever imagined.

In the first semester of my freshman year in college, I went to talk to a priest during a retreat that I was on. Throughout the whole semester I had been feeling extremely homesick and very uneasy about the change that had happened in my life. Up until freshman year of college, I had lived in the same house, in the same town, surrounded by the same neighbors since the day I was born. I went through preschool, kindergarten, middle school, and high school with all of the same friends, and every summer we always went with the same group of families to the same campground for our annual camping trip. Needless to say, I was pretty comfortable with the way my life was. When my parents dropped me off at school that first August, my mom made my bed, my parents kissed me goodbye, they too offÖ and my world turned upside down. Absolutely everything in my life changed, and I wasnít a happy camper.

So a few months later I found myself telling this priest about what had been going on in my life and how much I hated all the changeó how I felt like everything was shifting, and I wasnít a fan. He smiled and nodded empathetically, and then presented me with one of the greatest life analogies Iíve ever heard.

He told me to imagine an unborn child in his motherís womb. The child is happy and healthy, and as he grows he gets stronger and more aware of himself. He has all the food and nourishment he could ever need, he is warm, he feels safe and loved. He has gotten used to the soothing, rhythmic sound of his motherís heartbeat. All is good in his world. The longer he is with his mother, though, the more and more cramped he gets. Slowly but surely, he finds that it is very difficult to move, and his living quarters seem to get smaller and smaller as the days go on.

One day, something terrible happens. Against his will, he is taken from his comfortable living situation and brought, rather roughly, into a much larger room, with very loud noises and bright white lights that hurt his eyes. The room is horribly cold, and he is so confused and scared that he begins to cry. Nurses poke and prod at his belly and his hands and toes. He canít hear his beloved motherís heartbeat like he used to. His body hurts everywhere.

The terrible experience that the newborn baby has to undergo (i.e., his birth), is very uncomfortable and downright confusing. He cannot yet see all of the beautiful things that are going to come from this seemingly horrible day. But, with time, he will become accustomed to his new surroundings. He will learn how to laugh, he will meet new friends, he will learn how to ride a bike, and he will play in his first baseball game. He will experience all of the beautiful, wonderful things that life has to offer, but he has to undergo a big change before any of this can happen.

It is with a tear in my eye that I "graduate" from FOCUS and move away from Lafayette, LA, away from all of the new, amazing people God has put into my life this year. But, I also leave with so much hope in the fact that God always uses change to bring us new beginnings, the start of new adventures.

I hope youíve all heard the song Closing Time, by the 90ís band Semisonic? They very poetically touch on exactly what weíre talking about here: "Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginningís end." Everything eventually needs to come to an end, but this is not reason for sadness or pain. We must find solace and hope in the fact that we can have a fresh start, a new beginning!

So, hereís to springtime, new adventures, and fresh starts.

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