23 June-28 June 2017
I returned “home” and to my alma mater for my nephews’ graduation. It has been so long since I sat where the last group of children, born in the 1900’s, are, proud to be finishing their first major milestone. At that time, my future was bright, and still is; I’ve completed three degrees, and have a life of opportunities ahead.
I got in late Thursday. Later than my planned arrival. The minute the plane touched down at Hancock Airport, the tears fell. I was home, back to my roots, changed. Stronger, thinner, and my head still held high. I have been through a great deal, and not just this year, but the last 17 years, with a mix of other things in my life.
At the ceremony, the students waited for their name to be called as they began their walk across the stage. One student rolled through the grass in his wheelchair with very good friends by his side. He stopped where the stairs began. He did not use the wheelchair lift. As his name was called, his friends lifted him out of the chair and helped him “walk” across the stage. A huge group effort by his friends, school faculty and administrators helped this young man receive his diploma and back into his wheelchair.
How inspiring. To take a leap of faith and “walk” across the stage. To know everyone would be there to help him with this huge goal. To just be in the moment. That young man is going to go far in his education, and in his life. He’s not letting any disabilities stop him.
High school is where it all begins. We begin to learn more about ourselves, and grow into our first layer of skin. We find like-people to surround us. Some of those people will be friends for life. I think it’s worth repeating: high school graduation is the first major life milestone. There will many more after.
It’s a great lesson, watching the young man be assisted out of his wheelchair, and walk across the stage, with a smile on his face as his legs entwined, defying the direction he needed to go. It was very moving. He recognized something in himself, and insisted he was going to walk, not roll, to receive his diploma. He took a leap of faith because a) he wanted to, b) he knew he could do it, and c) nobody was going to let him fall along the way.
This instills a tremendous amount of pride in my alma mater, where the quality of education is still top-notch in the state of New York (compared to what I’ve seen here in NM, yes, top-notch).
We all need to take a leap of faith in our lives. I took the largest one when I moved away from New York. I know there are a few other moments waiting in the wings. I am also taking a leap of faith with my writing, but not going to stop. I’ve said it before, I think 2017 holds some great mysteries, adventures, and milestones for me
Congratulations to the Class of 2017! Biggest congrats to my nephews.