Very rarely in my life do I hear my full name. Em, Emmie, Emjack (and it's inappropriate cousin), Jackson, Em Dog, those I hear on a regular basis. But only two occasions warrant the use of my seven syllable moniker. Getting in trouble and graduation. Saturday morning around 10:38 was one of those times. Making eye contact with my favorite professor as he read my name, I cautiously walked across the stage to grasp an empty tube and cordially shake our very southern and very iconic university president's hand as he reached for the next empty tube to hand to the accounting major who was blessed with the opportunity of sitting by me.
Supposedly graduation is supposed to be some sort of solemn occasion. But that's not the world I live in. My cap fell off mid-ceremony. Twice. Blowing into the row behind me, down about four seats so that everyone got to participate in the Great Cap Return of 2013, only to be followed by the attempt to be sly and put it on without creating a spectacle. Besides having to pee in the middle of the ceremony, and then having to wait until the very end, and be the last row dismissed to be allowed to do so, it all went rather smoothly after that.
Suffice it to say, I am a college graduate. At this moment, sitting in Starbucks as I have almost every other summer of my life, things don't feel so different yet. They felt different on Friday when I had to say good-bye to my guy. They felt different when I received a phone call from my brother in Afghanistan on Saturday morning before graduation, congratulating me. They felt different when I packed up my little Hermit House for the last time. And they certainly felt different as I drove out of Bolivar for the last time. But then I got here, and nothing seems to have changed yet.
I'm sure it will take time to settle in. But I think the part that's the weirdest is that I have no idea what I'm settling in to. Saturday afternoon, sitting for the last time in the boy's infamous loft, we were discussing the future. Scott, the ever impulsive one, is heading into Physical Therapy school in the fall, strapped into another three years of school. I, the planner, have no plans.
Oddly, I'm not afraid of it, and I haven't been for a long time. God has been generous to provide me with whatever I needed when I needed it, and just because this season of change is layered with goodbyes, His provision is consistent. But in that conversation, my friend pointed out how open things are for me. Open. For the first time, I have zero responsibilities in my life, heading into nothing. He made mention of how this enables me to just look to God and be faithful to anything. While I have always had freedom, never has it felt this absolutely free.
Up until today, I have been avoiding the processing phase of all of this. The final few weeks at school I stayed busy, packing, working out, soaking in my friends, it wasn't time to be sad and think about this part yet. Sunday I arrived home and continued in my stay-busy-mode. Seeing a few people, shopping, unpacking (somewhat). And today I think I need to start sitting with the weighty hard parts of it all. There are still tears left. Mourning the end of an extremely hard and equally wonderful time in my life. Steeping in the freedom of my current situation and asking the Lord what to do now. It is an odd feeling this time of life, never before have I not been a student. Never before have I moved away from friends not knowing how often or if I will get to see them. Never before have I had the option to make whatever choices I wanted and not been afraid of disappointing people around me. So many new sensations that I still have no idea what to do with.
As you may have noticed, I have changed the name of my blog. Heading into post-graduate life I wanted somewhat of a fresh start with this. I want to hold onto the things I learned in college, which is why I did not create an entirely new blog, however, I want this blog to reflect who I am. I want to nurture the small thoughts and events in my life. The whims. I want them to have room to be planted and flourish however they may look. I want to be diligent to pen this time in my life. That's important to me. My blog is a place for me to grow up as I may. For the people who will one day be in my life to be able to see from where I came, who I was at 19 and 22 and so on. Here I can mark the stakes God sets in my life. Stakes of grace, pain, movement.
So that's where I'm at. Sitting at Starbucks. Starting to feel reality sink in, knowing it's good. This is all good.