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New Beginnings, Always

Well, here I am, not just a grandmother now.  I’m the grandmother of a high school graduate. 


And there we were, the whole family (thank God!) at his graduation ceremony.  Called a commencement.  A commencement!  Not the end of high school (which it sure as hell what it felt like to most of the new graduates) but the beginning of new things.  Setting off in the stage-one rocket of post-high school education. 


As the kids in those weird blue gowns and even weirder and much festooned flat hats marched down the aisle to the stage from which their rocket would launch, I was in tears.  Oh, this beautiful beginning.  Like the birth of a child.  It’s all so wonderful, what with all the joy (also relief, in many cases) and hope (also confusion and qualms, in many cases). 


The very pulse of life, being acted out in our very presence. 


Now of course the thrill of being so moved to tears was very quickly followed by two hours of excruciating boredom.  Just ask the kids on stage in their gowns and hats, having to endure the very thing they hated most about high school: sitting through long dreary speeches telling no one anything they didn’t know already. 


But still.  You have to listen to tears.  Just one tear says more than a whole day of speeches. 


So what did my tears say? 


They said, “Pay attention to the power and joy of new beginnings.  This is the heart of life, where even every little heartbeat sends a new beginning of blood and life and energy throughout our tired bodies.  We may be able to do without long boring speeches, thank you very much, but we need way more of these new beginnings.” 


We all need our time on stage celebrating a new beginning.  Not just at 18 and 22, but over and over and over through the course of our lives.  The hope and joy of it, just as meaningful and important at 38 and 68 and 98 as it is at 18. 


Because most of us, I think, feel stuck in a plateau.  A kind of living flat line.  What is death, after all, but the end of new beginnings? 


We’re not to blame for living in a desert devoid of new beginnings.  Our life is so filled with the deadly momentum of routine and obligations.  The “have-to’s” and “can’t get out of’s” of real life.


We’re like cars whose batteries need a jump start even though we’re still flowing down the highway. 


And “jump start” is the right expression.  Or “a kick in the ass” if you prefer.  New beginnings don’t make themselves happen.  It’s like being unable to get out of bed unless someone or something pushes you out. 


So be it.  Let it be.  Make it be!  We have no choice but to be our own jump start. 


And you see, it doesn’t have to be a huge deal, this new beginning.  Just think of things you want to do, or things you think you might want to do.  A slender thread of possibility. 


Then...begin.  New beginnings, like babies, are messy, imperfect things.  How could it be otherwise?  Because they’re new!! 


But soon, before you know, you’ll find yourself launched in your new beginning, and maybe you’ll feel the tears of joy and hope than come with it. 


And then, before things get stale, begin a beginning again. 




Please share your new beginnings with the us.  It’ll help a lot of other people. 




The photos are of Nick at his graduation dinner. 


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