As many are acknowledging milestones in their lives at this time of the year, I’ve been reflecting on some of them.
There are those who are experiencing milestones in their educational progression. Some are experiencing a first transition as kindergarten ends and they announce that they are ready to step off into the next 12 years of schooling. They can recite their letters, count to 100 or beyond and color in the lines. All things that are groundwork for the next great endeavor.
Others are completing high school, looking back with a nostalgic eye at friendships made, team work skills refined and a focus toward the future beginning to narrow. College, trade school, the work force – each begin to become weightier words as reality bears down.
For some, college ends with letters like AA, BA, MA, PhD being formed on diplomas that will decorate office walls after the tassels turn and the celebrations fade.
Not all milestones are academic, but still reflect determination and commitment. Some are forming families, acknowledging before friends and families a determination to join together to face life’s journey. Acknowledgment of history together, anticipation of pleasures and excitement that lay ahead, “I do’s” are exchanged, embraces are photographed and licenses are signed as another milestone is reached.
Sometimes the milestones are anniversaries, of birthdays, weddings, retirements, or deaths. Each in its own way becomes a marker on life’s journey.
Spiritually we see these markers in perhaps a different manner. A first prayer being formed at bedtime or a meal. Faith acknowledged as new birth is begun. An embracing of ancient traditions of communion, both with God and his people across time and in one’s immediate surroundings.
In all the acknowledgements of milestones, at least two components exist. The first is reflective in nature, while one stands at this point, behind them are individual after individual who shared the journey and offered support. The second is anticipatory, peering into a future, unsure of what lies ahead but longing to embrace it. A bit of fear mitigated by life experiences that have laid the groundwork for success.
Standing on the foundation of the past, leaning into the anticipation of the future, lives change. Not just the graduating class, the couple or new Christian, but the lives of all of those who have contributed their part to the journey.