by Ken Rolheiser
Graduates setting out on life’s journey

Before allowing Timmy, to walk to school alone his mother asked her neighbour Shirley Goodnest if she would follow him at a distance. Shirley agreed, since she went walking with her toddler anyway.
Later Timmy’s mother asked him how he enjoyed walking to school alone. “Well I’m not really alone,” he said. “Shirley Goodnest and her daughter are following me everyday.”
“Does that bother you,” asked the mother?
“No,” said Timmy. “It says in the bible ‘Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow you all the days of your life.’ And I might as well get used to it.”

This is the time of year when graduates are leaving the nest and setting out on life’s journey. Parents can’t shadow them at a distance, but along with teachers, clergy and neighbours, parents have done what they can to prepare these young adults for life’s journey.

The temptation is to be long on advice and to panic when the day of parting arrives. A better approach is to be long on prayer, and trust that with God’s help and all the guidance and encouragement that has been offered, it will be a good journey.

A sage added this instruction when setting out on life’s journey: Take some extra food and clothes for the poor you will meet on the way.

Life is a great journey, especially if we set out with all the support and love of parents, teachers and community. There are many twists, turns and challenges, but choosing our travel companions wisely will more than compensate.

Imagine travelling through life with God at your side? God has already given us angels to be with us constantly. And seriously, the Lord is our Shepherd, always seeking our safety, giving us space to choose our course. We might as well get used to it!

God does not have any bad days. Think about that in a travel companion!

Life has many good surprises. More if God is with you. There never is a reason to fear; only to trust.

Good habits of daily introspection and prayer will assist us on our journey. A Zen proverb says, “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”

C.S. Lewis said, “I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God - it changes me.”

I would like to conclude with a personal suggestion from Francis Thompson about staying a child at heart:
"Know what it is to be a child…have a spirit yet streaming from the waters of baptism: it is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything, for each child has its fairy godmother in its own soul; it is to live in a nutshell and to count yourself the king of infinite space; it is  To see a world in a grain of sand, And a Heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour [William Blake]; it is to know not as yet that you are under sentence of life, nor petition that it be commuted into death."

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