It is the season for graduations so here is my advice to graduates:
Fall in love with yourself, with being a child of God, created in that perfect image.
Fall in love with your Creator who formed you in your mother’s womb, knitted you to be just as you are while knowing who you will be.
Fall in love with the evening breeze and the morning sun, the drift of clouds across the sky, the color of things, the way the world turns and breathes.
Never miss a local story.
Fall in love with this round planet with its vast horizons and deep waters, its layers of ash and stone and dirt.
Fall in love with your family, mothers and fathers and embarrassing uncles, your siblings, your spouse and your children.
Fall in love with friendship, with promises made even while knowing how hard they are to keep.
Fall in love with the stuff you build together, the places you go, the dreams you make, the inside jokes.
Fall in love with everyone connected to you because family and friends are what will hold you up when the earthquakes and everything shatters and they are the ones who sooner or later will have to take your calls. That’s just what they do, so fall in love with that.
Fall in love with Saturday’s chores, with Sunday and the silence arriving in prayer, with Thursday night spaghetti and Tuesday’s breakfast cheerios, and the taste of ripe strawberries and the smell of a burger on the grill and the chill of ice cold lemonade sliding down the back of your throat.
Fall in love with the way your body moves, for the delight it feels, the touch of the hand caressing yours and the ache in muscles well used, for eyes that see and ears that hear and arms that can hold more than you thought, feet that take you from here to there, your heart that breaks and heals, breaks and heals.
Fall in love with the moments that make you laugh so hard you hurt and all the ones you wish you could forget.
Fall in love with what you have and what you want and fall in love with giving it all away because the things we own never really make us happy.
Fall in love with mercy and forgiveness and the unpredictability that is forged within the hours of every day. With hope and faith.
Fall in love with love, the love that makes you patient and kind and keeps you from being rude and irritable or having to have your own way.
Fall in love because all of it, all of life happens so fast and it is all so meaningful and not, important and not, necessary and not; so that the only thing that lets you surrender at the end of it is to know quite simply that you have experienced the sweetest and most thrilling part of what it is all about anyway, but only if you fall in love.
Lynne Hinton is a co-pastor of Mt. Hope United Church of Christ in Whitsett (Guilford County) and author. Her newest book is called Traveling Light. Learn more: www.lynnehinton.com