If you see a graduate looking this disoriented, you might want to call a doctor!:)
“Human experience includes those dangerous and difficult times of dislocation and disorientation when the sky does fall and the world does come to an end.” Walter Brueggemann, on the Psalms
I was reading this great Brueggemann quote sent by my friend Adam this morning, and it hit me. My daughter (and every other senior) is disoriented. Please don’t hear what I’m not saying — it’s not like she’s doing crazy things like wrapping the school up with caution tape or lying around the house all day watching old episodes of Make it or Break It. It’s just that she, and every other senior, has arrived at one of those times when a world has come to an end.
I’ve been focusing on how disorienting it is for me to have my third of four graduate from high school, but this morning I decided to turn the tables and think about what the seniors are wondering. Here are five questions of disorientation for graduates**:
1. Who am I now that I’m not…the class clown, the All-A student, the “most-likely-to-be-tardy,” the state wrestling champ…?
2. Will anyone here miss me? Will they remember me?
3. How will they get along without me? Who can fill my shoes in the part I played in this world?
4. Who will be my new friends along the next part of the journey?
5. Will I even make it on the next part of the journey?
** Caution — I don’t highly recommend sitting down with your graduate and saying, “Now, honey, I know you’re really struggling with some hard questions. Let’s talk about them.” (I read all about it on the Living Story blog.) (I write this only because it’s something I might do:).
I’m thinking — Reading the Psalms, which are all about disorientation and re-orientation, prayer, understanding and good conversation may be ways to walk well with a graduate (or anyone in transition). Letting someone know we’re listening to their hearts, remembering how those questions were answered for us or them in the past could be very helpful in these days. What do you think?
Continues to be a good time to wander in Brueggemann’s The Message of the Psalms. Here are a few paragraphs on “new orientation.” Make sure to read the Psalms mentioned after the quote — if you’re like me, you can get stuck on just the words of the author and forget the Word of the Author!:)
“But obviously the move into disorientation is not the only move made in the faith of Israel or in the literature of the Psalms. While the speaker may on occasion be left ‘in the Pit,’ (as in Ps. 88), that is not the characteristic case. Most frequently the Psalms stay with the experience to bring the speech into a second decisive move, from disorientation to new orientation. That is, the Psalms regularly bear witness to the surprising gift of new life just when none had been expected. That new orientation is not a return to the old stable orientation, for there is no such going back. The psalmists know that we can never go home again. Once there has been an exchange of real candor, as there is here between Yawheh and Israel, there is no return to the precandor situation.
Rather the speaker and the community of faith are often surprised by grace, when there emerges in present life a new possibility that is inexplicable, neither derived nor extrapolated, but wrought by the inscrutable power and goodness of God. That newness cannot be explained, predicted, or programmed. We do not know how such a newness happens any more than we know how a dead person is raised to new life, how a leper is cleansed, or how a blind person can see (cf. Luke 7:22). We do not know; nor do the speakers of these psalms. Since Israel cannot explain and refuses to speculate, it can do what id does best. It can tell, narrate, recite, testify, in amazement and gratitude, ‘lost in wonder, love, and praise.’ (123-124, The Message of the Psalms, Walter Brueggemann) Psalm 76, 87, 103, 117 are examples that include new orientation.