July 3, 2008 · Updated 12:35 PM
"If you can imagine it,you can achieve it.If you can dream it,you can become it.--William Arthur WardI do not know a thing about William Arthur Ward, but quotes such as his are popular this time of year. In fact, this very quote graces a graduation card I recently picked out for a high school senior, who in a matter of days will graduate.I cannot easily reconcile the impetuous mixture of emotions I experience when I look at her. I cannot easily deliver the genuine smile I have for her when tears sting my eyes. I can only wonder about the range of emotions her mother feels as she watches her daughter prepare to graduate. I can, however, understand how all those years of child rearing now seem like merely days.I suppose I am lucky. I will not have to face that kind of mother moment with my own daughter for four more years. I have made a promise to myself that I will live these next few years with renewed vigor and energy. I will give rapt attention to all that comes with today's high school experience so there will be a large storehouse of memories to enjoy after June, 2004, when my eldest flies away to pursue her own dreams.For now I am left to watch other children graduate as well as recall my own graduation experiences. William Ward says if we imagine it we can achieve it. Do you recall what you imagined for yourself way back then?I know exactly what I had in mind. I wanted to be an attorney and live a very metropolitan life. San Francisco sounded very good to me. Very sophisticated, in fact. I also wanted independence, challenge and freedom. I liked causes and envisioned myself as an advocate for justice. It was my anthem.My parents said I could choose a car, a trip to Europe, or a college education. I chose a college far enough away that I could not run home on a whim but could touch base with Mom and Dad at semester's end. I also chose an English degree because law schools looked favorably on those who could write and express themselves well.I imagined it, dreamed of it, and was offered all the support in the world to achieve it.At the time I assumed that some of my dreams had to die, including the one that involved the boy who had completely captured my heart, for he envisioned a life filled with people and experiences and places I believed would be completely incompatible with my own. He was mysteriously linked to the natural world and grew so frustrated by our growing incompatibility that he bolted away from me, who chose concerts over birdwatching, and capris over cut-off jeans.As I embraced college life and began to taste independence, I also realized that I desired much more than human support. I longed for a profound and daily spiritual life. I boldly engaged my Christianity and began in short order to experience the great and personal love of God, through faith-filled friends as well as through the miraculous ways I saw God work in my life during my tenure as a campus resident advisor.Much to my surprise, my dreams underwent major reconstruction. San Francisco began to fade and where buildings once stood, people began to appear. It became ever clearer to me that what I allowed to influence and mold my mind and heart and attitudes also impacted what I hoped to achieve in my life. It impacted what I perceived was my ultimate purpose in this world.And while I was not to know this for many years, there was at least one person who would cover me with prayer. For years she would pray that I would find my way, forever link my life to God, and not forget that boy of my dreams.This week I will seal each graduation card with a lick and a prayer. I will ask God to give each young graduate the gift of faith, dreams that are rooted in heaven, and a person who will never forget to pray for them. After all, I know about the power of prayer. While I have yet to slide into cut-offs, I can tell you a lot about 19 years of marriage to the boy of my dreams.We dared to dream it and we became it. Joan Bay Klope is a freelance writer and former editor of Christian books published by Gospel Light Publications. She can be reached at email@example.com."