In the convocation prayer offered by Elder Maria Campbell each year for Athabasca University graduands, she asks for blessing that their journeys be “rich, gentle, and challenging”. I can’t think of a more perfect wish than this. Each word transforms and deepens the other two. It’s truly beautiful. Every time I hear those words (or, technically, read them – they are actually spoken in Cree) they tumble together in my head for days. I am reminded of these lines (that are about music, but that seem perfectly apt here) from Robert Browning’s Abt Vogler:
And I know not if, save in this, such gift be allowed to man
That out of three sounds he frame, not a fourth sound, but a star.
On this graduation day I wish all our departing students rich, gentle, and challenging lives, and (as Maria Campbell goes on to say, gently acknowledging troubles to come) that the roads they travel are not too bumpy.
And I wish the same to you, too.