Ahhh…graduation season…all the pomp and pageantry of this much anticipated time of year brings out some strong emotions: pride, love, and of course, some sadness. Mothers hug their graduates as if it was only yesterday that they started kindergarten; fathers shake the hand of the son who is now a man or embrace the daughter who has become a woman somewhere over the course of the previous twelve years.

Dreams are the topic of discussion with family and friends filled with a collective hope that a degree in medicine, law, or computer technology will launch them into a Bill Gates level of success. What happens, though, when real life sets in and that motivated student who set out to tackle the world discovers that dreams evolve or even die?

As I sat at a ceremony thinking about all those unique individuals sitting in the crowd, some whom I’ve known since they were just little tykes, I couldn’t help but wonder what may be waiting for them around the corner of life’s twists and turns. Not that I would ever wish difficulties in their lives, but let’s face it: life is messy.

Maybe a terrible first semester in college, a bad breakup that leaves them depressed and devastated, or a health crisis in the family that forces them into a role of financial support for their family…anything could happen, and then what?

As I pondered the possibilities, I came to one conclusion: if each and every student would learn and grow from their challenges and ultimately become someone who recycles their losses into love, it’s all worth it. This world doesn’t need more physicians, attorneys, or computer geniuses (even though these things are amazing); what we need are men and women who realize that love is the very best dream to pursue. I’m talking about a gut-level understanding of the human struggle and the desire to reach across all the various “lines” this world says exist.

It is a choice, one that God desires each of us to make. He created each and every one of those graduates with a purpose: to love…and whether embracing that purpose takes them down a path of manufacturing or medicine, law or linguistics, computers or customer service….it’s all good…the greatest mark of success is spelled l-ov-e.