When I was in a really bad space in high school, really trying to work out my identity and just survive the clusterfuck that was my family I would spend a lot of time just imagining the future. Very specific things in the future. I’d picture myself graduating from college, wearing a cap and gown, getting a diploma, hundreds upon of people in the audience*. I don’t know what fictitious school I was graduating from. It didn’t matter. It got me through stuff. I was, I suppose, promising myself that it would get better.
And that idea, that image, carried me through. Though high school, through that terrible summer after high school, though my first college, my second college, my third college and cross country moves and tears and strife and thinking I was CLEARLY too stupid to do this college thing. The idea that I’d get to walk across that stage and receive my diploma was always there, reminding me that I had something to look forward to.
I do that for a lot of things. When I really can’t think about the present anymore, or when everything is just too overwhelming, I think of something that I am looking forward to, even if I’m not sure it will ever happen. Just imagine myself doing something good or fun. Taking the T to my friend Elizabeth’s house, letting myself in, getting hugs from her and her husband and possibly their son. Just simple things. Things that can’t go wrong.
These aren’t things I am working toward, necessarily, or things that I am trying to earn. Obviously graduation wasn’t the goal of college. It was just something symbolic to mark that I had achieved something. I don’t just go to Boston to get hugs and chocolate peanut butter chip pancakes on Saturday mornings, but it’s something I know I can reliably look forward to.
Why all the build up? Cos I feel like you are all going to mock me. Hell, I’m mocking myself for this.
The Service of the Living Tradition.
After you graduate and fulfill all the requirements and stuff to be a UU minister you participate in the Service of the Living Tradition at General Assembly. You have attained preliminary fellowship.
I TOLD YOU TO STOP LAUGHING.
I posted before that I basically have lived on the UUA website for, um, a few months. Learning and reading and watching videos. I think I’ve read every back issue of UU World available online. I have looked through the book shop. I watched all the Service of the Living Tradition videos that were available.
This laughing thing is getting SERIOUSLY ANNOYING. Are you QUITE done yet?
I kept seeing ministers that I knew. I saw my former minister get called, I saw many of the people I met in Phoenix, I heard names of people who’s blogs I read or who’s sermons I have read. All these people who I have come to know through so many different avenues. All had this one shared experience.
And I could maybe kindasorta imagine myself up there. Walking up, singing “Rank by Rank,” sitting on the stage. Knowing that I “did it.” Not that anything was over, but knowing I had finished with that one part.
Even if I decide to take a totally different path in life that’s OK. But right now it’s something neat to think about. When my car insurance payment is due and I need to fill the propane tank and my sister is nagging at me that she NEEDS new jeans and I can’t find a church anywhere around here that is anything above tolerable and the world just seems to be beating me up. It’s something I can think about.
Oh FINE, go ahead! Laugh! See if I care.
*My actual graduation had a few hundred people in the audience, I wore whatever I threw on that morning, and my friend Kate read my name, handed me a carnation, and gave me a hug. Then I stepped up to the microphone, read my friend Sarah’s name, handed her a carnation, gave her a hug, and went and took a seat on the stage. Hippies have weird graduation ceremonies.