Tuesday, May 29


The link above is to a post by one of my favorite teachers, Dr. John Mark Reynolds. "College Graduation: Ten Things I Wish I Had Known". I've been thinking graduation/growing up thoughts lately, after attending the Torrey graduation on Friday. Dr. Reynolds thoughts in this blog post seem good to me, so I'm going to see how I'm doing in these ten areas (Reynolds' comments in italics):

1. Friends matter. Don’t move around without considering the value of the community you have already made.

Doing ok on this one, I think. I still have friends from freshman year, and have been at the same church for...wow, 7 years in October! That's the main reason I've never considered moving; I love being around my friends here Not that moving is inherently bad--but maybe people in my age-range and culture move around a little too much.

2. Work is good. Get that first “bad job” and read the manager’s manuals. Figure out how your company operates. Suck even your low level retail job dry of information. Credit cards are mostly bad. Don’t borrow money except for a house or more education.

Doing alright on this one too, I guess. My job is good (for me--not for my pocketbook!) Have definately learned a lot. Still very much in debt, but it's almost all for health and education, so not too bad.

3. Don’t live for weekends, they are only 2/7 of the week. If your life is that bad, time for changes. Travel as much as you can in light of duty and sacrifice. (This is a great chance to go someplace and do hard labor for the poor with some friends.)

Well, I do love my weekends....but I don't know that I live for them. I do a lot during the week as well. I'm getting better about doing some traveling--I don't have the money to go far, but I'm having fun taking little day trips: last Saturday, up to Idyllwild! Got to go into a lot of little shops, talk to some interesting people!

4. If you are bored, pretty much ever, there is something wrong. We live in the most fascinating culture of all time with almost unlimited chances and choices. Perhaps you are only living for self and not for a cause bigger than you are? I know, I know. It sounds Commencement-y, but you cannot be happy living only for self.

I do still get bored sometimes, but not much. I usually have a book to pick up, or a painting to do. Never really had much trouble with entertaining myself.

5. Time to stop playing (very much) with toys. Growing up means (partly) finding your pleasures not in bigger toys, but in a life well lived. Have kids (don’t wait past your twenties if you can) and play with toys again as a matter of duty!

Hmmm, think I'm ok there. I only play one video game (Guitar Hero II!!!!) and even that not very much.

6. Getting married is good, but being single is also good. Let the people in your life who know you well (parents, pastor, friends) speak into your life to let you know when you are “ready.”

I think I've already pretty much answered this question in my life. I don't think I'm meant for marriage, and mostly I'm ok with that. My priest agrees with me, and most of the people I've talked to are very supportive. Yay!

7. You are an adult. You don’t have to prove it by disregarding every piece of advice older people give you. (Read the story of Rehoboam in the Bible.) Side line: do read the Bible daily. It is a good habit. Try reading a Bible like the King James version that will expand your vocabulary and sentence structure, not dumb itself down for you. Read a translation and not a paraphrase. The best modern version is the ESV.

I think I do ok with taking advice from my elders. Not great--I've never been great at taking advice--but I do have people I listen to who are older and wiser. Dr. Reynolds, in fact, is one of them.

Unfortunately, not doing great on reading the Bible daily. Never have been. Getting better at praying structured prayers everyday though, so progress is possible!

8. My being “happy” is not worth making someone else miserable. Your forty-something self will have to live with the scars you place on your soul now.

Hmmmm...well, in some ways I'm doing pretty good with this one, but I know my cluttered room is causing my roommate stress, and I need to work on that.  

9. Television? Media? Canned music? Try to get no more than an hour a day of the stuff. Read, read, read. (The difference between reading good stuff linked to on our home page or some other leader’s site and watching endless you-tube videos is one of the differences between shepherds and sheep.)

Eep. Not doing so good on this one. I don't watch THAT much TV (mostly just Mythbusters and Invader Zim--What Not to Wear once a week or so). But I don't much care for YouTube, or other things of that nature, and I'm usually reading several books (at the moment, Frank Capra's autobiography, the letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, and Eclipse of the Sun by Michael D. O'Brien. Trying to start the Ring of the Niebelung)

Even though I watch more TV than I would like, I still read more than most people I know. I've been reading a lot of fluff lately, so I need to up the ante a little.

10. Go to church every Sunday and participate. Join a small group there and discuss a great book. Church is a “free” way to find community, join a cause bigger than self, and find a moral system that you cannot just discard when it is convenient. Join a church with many older people in it (as long as they have a lively faith). Look for a pastor who is at least thirty years older (not close to your age). This seems like strange advice, but most of us are too peer dependent and need to be with (and hear) the ideas of older and wiser folk. Avoid the church of “what’s happening now.” You can get that from television. Find a place with a doctrinal statement with some teeth. If you don’t have to believe anything much to join, then there is nothing to argue about! Dialectical growth comes from pushing against hard and bright lines.

Ah, now this I've been doing for a while now. I love my church! I usually make it to two Masses a week, plus Compline (a beautiful service!) and spiritual direction group. I've also been a part of the church's writing group (now in hiatus) and still participate in the reading group (we read everything from Dante to Sayers to P.D. James.)
So all in alll.....I've got a lot to work on. Sigh. But then, what's new about that?

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