It’s the end. Saying good-bye to students is both awkward and sad for me. This semester, I decided to give them this send-off as my hope for their futures.
1. That you will leave a legacy of beautiful words strung together from your unique and unparalleled mind to bless the world and a future generation.
2. That you will live a brave life and take great risks—not just in writing—but in living. I wish that you would live by the strongest, most vivid verbs you can for the rest of your life. Yes, grapple with everything and fritter away the excess until you discover simplicity.
3. That you will build authentic community wherever you go. That you would listen, really listen, find common ground, disagree gently, and work for the good of others. You are more alike than different, and you are not alone.
4. That you would think deeply about the story your life is telling. If you don’t like it, then find a different narrative—the one you’re made for. That you would one day write it down for a parent, spouse, a child, or for a friend. There are things that you alone can say.
5. That you would use words to heal and not harm.
6. That you would look for the spiritual realitiesbehind your words to the wonder and mystery that all great thoughts—when pressed—reveal.
7. That you would find great joy in reading and writing, and in years to come, you’ll contact me to tell me about either the life-changing thing you’ve read or written. Or both.
8. That you would silence the voices of discouragement, despair, complaint, and cynicism and instead live lives of enthusiasm, hope, celebration, and radical faith. That you would then write down your hope to encourage the rest of us.
9. That you would have a thousand conversations with a thousand different people who each hold a treasure inside. That you wouldn’t judge by appearance or status but treat everyone equally and find the treasure inside of them. Help others find a way to express that beautiful thing in them that you find and name.
10. That you would push on—through any darkness, any pain, any confusion, and any loss—to find your true voice. Once you do, that you would speak and write from that true place forever.