I’ve got a graduate in my house. This is not new for me. Actually, he is the third child to don cap and gown and receive a diploma, and this is the third year in a row that I’ve sat and listened to speeches and became just a little speechless myself at the wonder of a milestone. I’m kind of used to it by now. It’s sort of become my springtime ritual.

Sort of.

But life moves on, sometimes when we aren’t looking, and he’s my very last high school graduate so just now, I’m looking. And thinking.

I’m thinking mostly about advice and growing up and how to tell truth, honest truth, to sons and daughters as they step out into the world and into their own on-their-own lives. What to tell the excited ones, the nervous ones, the ones with big dreams and big plans and the ones who are still trying to find their big dream.

And what I really want to say to these newly minted graduates is this: don’t worry. Really, just. don’t. worry. so. much.

Yes, it’s a big world out there and yes there are challenges. And yeah, I guarantee that you’ll make mistakes and yes, you will fall a time or two, but that’s okay because you’ll get back up and you’ll learn and you’ll grow.

What I want to say is that it’s not all on your shoulders and not everything needs to happen tomorrow. You have a lifetime ahead of you so please take some time to laugh every day and try to enjoy the sunshine and yeah, sure, go on and smell the roses.

But mostly, I want to tell them this:

You’ll never make it on your own. Never. Ever. Not one of us does. Never. Ever.

You need a tribe. You need community.

Yes, you might land the job, get the promotion, or get the full ride to graduate school – all on your own merits. You might write the book, sell the product, or start a business – all by your own efforts. You might make a ton of money or change the world a ton by your own hard work. And those things are amazing and I hope you do them. I believe you can do them. And yes, dreams are meant not just to be dreamed but to be done, so by all means – do.

But even though you might make your way through all these things all by yourself, you’ll never make it through a life all by yourself.

We all need a tribe. A community. A family.

We all need connection.

This is what humans are created for, and this is what I want you to know – you need people, your people, caring about you and maybe even carrying you sometimes. You need people to care about, and people that you can carry.

Connection is the garden in which the soul thrives, in which a life is made.

You’ll never make it on your own. Neither will I. Not one of us does because the truth is that we only make it through the ups and the downs and the joys and the sorrows with each other. This is how we were designed. This is what we are meant to be.

This is what molds us, shapes us, fills us and completes us.

The clay of humanity finds it’s moisture in community.

Clay shaped into a life, into real living.

This is what I want to tell my graduate, and myself too because don’t we all need to remind ourselves sometimes of things that we know? And yeah, sure, maybe I’m nostalgic a bit too, because there’s no going back and life moves on even if we aren’t looking. But today I’m looking.

So I want to tell my graduate, and myself too, that the only way to really make it, really make this life into real living is to know that we’ll never make it on our own. Never. Ever. Not one of us does.

But with each other, we can.

have a beautiful day,