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Many have confused the definition of this word. So many of us obscure it with the end of something. When we graduated high school we saw it as the end of days with many friends and close teachers. The time for a young adult to spread their wings and take on the world but with SO MANY goodbyes.

My youngest brother Mitchell did not get to have his college graduation because of COVID. Mom organized a commencement ceremony in my parents’ barn instead. We all wore our graduation caps. It was even more special because it was personal and fun. We have good parents.

Commencement means to BEGIN.

The END of anything is always a NEW beginning of something. The next chapter. Goodbye isn’t always forever. Maybe just for now.

I have always had a hard time letting things go. I am sentimental and (about strange things) frugal. I have a hard time throwing out clothes I have owned since high school and meat that has been frozen for years. WHY?

Some of you may have read my blog about the 99 cent pork that I hoarded. Made for a funny story with a lot of laughs and I was able to gift a lot of it away. Then I lost all my freezer space and I live alone. Looking back it was silly since I wasn’t feeding an army that night.

We have seen a lot of this behavior in our world recently: the gasoline shortage, the toilet paper shortage. Etcetera. This is an irrational behavior that most people try and rationalize. I recognize that.

Part of it is that some of us don’t like to waste food when there are starving children all over the world and the other part is –

What was it you (I mean ME!) did wrong that you didn’t use it? Or will “it” be around when you need it? This rationalization is led by fear, not faith. The faithful do not worry. They know it will be OK.

The funny thing about this sentiment is how it relates to my friend: The Infamous “Chef John”.

He will chuckle over this title but he owns it proudly. As he should.

The man has had many struggles in his life and cheated death at least twice. Once with a failed kidney transplant and years of dialysis and others with how he drives.

He adapted from high-rolling living to very modest means. BUT, John does NOT cheat himself on a good meal. He is a CHEF, after all.

To John, a meal is a celebration of life — EVERY SINGLE DAY.

A commencement to the next chapter via Veal Parmesan or Flounder Florentine.

I have learned many things from John, and others.

Relationships with people – helping people through struggles – encouraging those to learn and grow – savoring the best of meals like it could be The Last Supper. These things make us happy; fulfilled.

Recently I wrote a blog titled “Easy Way Ranch” about my friend Greti’s family. Today she texted me that her beloved husband, Rick, has finally succumbed to cancer. I am so sad for all of them but I know this is just Rick’s COMMENCEMENT to the next life.

Let us celebrate every day. Burn the good candles. Order the steak. Live like Greti and John. Sentiment is OK, but I will commit to lightening my freezer and closet.