It's hard to believe my brother graduated from high school this month. How did he manage the pythagorean theory when he doesn't know how to do his own laundry? His graduation brings him into a season of change, and loss, and rebirth. His shirts will turn pink with the wash, he will no longer live in his childhood home, and he will, one day, four years from now, graduate with an engineering degree and become a "grown up". And hopefully find amazing adventures and love in between. The event of graduation shows little for the accomplishments students dedicate years to. A piece of paper means nothing to a fire, to a tornado, to someone who can't read. But high school sure as heck taught him how to laugh. How to take hardship in stride. To know when to fight and when to back down. In our tiny town he found a huge sense humor. On my mom's birthday last year he drove us to the theater and at the stop lights he would yell to the cars next to us, "It's her birthday! Tell her happy birthday!!" as my mom was sitting in the passenger seat. He has taught me so much about what it means to live without apologizing.
When I was a little kid a girl named Thuan babysat me when I would stay with my grandparents. She sneaked me soda and we played under the big trees for hours. Now, 15 years later she is a doctor for kiddos. We met at Madcap a couple months ago after not seeing each other for all that time. Now I'm taller, but she's still way smarter and my admiration for her has grown. To celebrate graduating from MSU with her doctorate in pediatric medicine she threw a party at Red Jet Cafe and invited me their to take pictures with all of the influential people in her life. All of her extended family, friends, and teachers were there, as well as my extended family. After the Vietnam War Thuan's family was able to move to the United States because my grandparent's church sponsored their move and our families became intimate parts of each other's lives. The world is big, but it's also small. And really really beautiful. Here are a few shots from that day.
This September I will be entering into my last semester of college and I am more unprepared for graduation than I was as a senior in high school. The "real world" is racing toward me and all I want to do is take pictures of my friends and weed my garden. My college experience has taught me that what you get out of life is what you give. My roommate and I went on a retreat last fall and talked about the words "Thank You." It's amazing how much better, bearable, and wonderful life becomes when you start proclaiming "Thank You." Thank you for being a friend. Thank you for feeding my cat. Tree, thank you for the shade. Thank you for the sunshine and thank you for the rain. I think living life in the slow lane after graduation may be the best option. Hopping on a boat to somewhere foreign, weeding another garden, and practicing "thank you" in.
Thank you. Gracias. Asante.