Just a slight interruption from the series I’m currently writing on…
It’s graduation season and I’ve sat through quite a few grad speeches in the past few days. Some were pretty good. Others gave me a few moments to put some thoughts into my phone to write about later…..
As you move on into the next season… (every speech in May-June starts like this right?) … remember to pack light. One of my all time favourite books to read is “The Virtues of War” by Steven Pressfield. It’s a fictionalized story of the life of Alexander the Great. Lots of great characters in this book but one of them is a grizzled old soldier who was a mentor to Alexander. On one occasion they talk about what belongs in a soldiers pack as they march. Its a great dialogue on the mindset of a warrior and I highly recommend the read. I’d like to talk about what belongs in the pack of a student leaving home.
This is a key transition moment in your life as you leave home. Transition well. I don’t say finish well because it’s not the end of a relationship but the changing of one. Parental authority moves to advising instead of telling. Wisdom is invited and asked for more than it’s lectured. Lesson time at home is over, now those lessons are acted on and whether the time at home was good or bad the momentum of years of strong or weak parenting are going to weigh down or lift up a young adult.
Pack light when you leave home. You may have had amazing parents. You may leave with a heavy heart wishing that you had better parents: Parents with less dysfunction, more wisdom, less selfishness or baggage of their own. You may be saying that you’ll never be like them or you may hope to live up to their example. Regardless, no parent did it all right and no parent did it all wrong.
You will never be more ready to forgive your parents than right now. Seriously. You do yourself no favours by carrying that burden into the next season. It will darken every relationship you have, every thought you have of who God is as a father to you and every thought you have about your own identity. It will not be enough to say you won’t be like them. Your identity is not the absence of something bad but the presence of something great. Forgive. Every specific circumstance, every dark moment that comes to your mind, whenever it pops up and however many times it pops up. Difficult? Yep. What’s the line from the Zelda video game series?
“It’s dangerous to go alone! ….”
Yea, you’re not going to pull that off without the power of God in your life. Forgiveness means releasing judgement and punishment off someone who deserves it. It’s letting them off the hook, not because they deserve it, because you need to. Because at some point you’ve needed someone to let YOU off the hook. Because at some point you’ve needed God to let you off the hook and the only way he is willing to that is for you to ask Jesus to forgive you for what you’ve done. Thank Jesus for paying the price for your sin and darkness by dying on the cross for you. Then give him the wheel and let him drive. You will need this very central relationship with Jesus if you’re to have the strength and wisdom to handle what comes in the future.
If you want to take an inventory of the strengths that mark your life then take moments to be thankful for things your parents did for you, examples they were to you, things they did for you, things they said. Some will find this easy, others will have no clue where to begin but if you’re still standing and still breathing then you’re parents did at least one thing right.
The qualities in your parents you discover when you’re thankful are qualities that will probably mark your life as well. Was your dad persistent? Never quit? I bet you carry a seed of that as well. Thankfulness will show you things in your backpack that you didn’t even know were there. Tools that you will need for the journeys and battles ahead. People think they are discerning and insightful because they can see the flaws in people. Bah! You want to be insightful? Find the gold in a person’s life who you needed to forgive. Anybody can see junk. Find the gold. People need a man or woman in their life who has this skill. Be that person.