Pearls of wisdom come from many sources

June 1, 2009 at 1:01 a.m.

Shrimp with Pearls and Vegetables

Shrimp with Pearls and Vegetables   Myra Starkey for The Victoria Advocate

During this graduation season I have had the opportunity to sit through more than a speech or two. I don't mind it so much. It's a good chance to get free advice.

It would be difficult to know what to tell someone who is graduating now. The world is changing so rapidly that it could be hard to be certain about what path to take.

In reality we all just drive down that road of life, never really sure what is around the next turn. Sometimes the road seems so familiar that it becomes almost tedious and we become restless for change. At other times we know we took a wrong turn somewhere back there and hope only to find our way back to the main road. And yet even then we don't necessarily want anyone else telling us how to drive.

When Spencer went through his official St. Joseph graduation ceremony, the speaker was Tom Butler, president of The Victoria College. One of the main things I remember about his lighthearted speech was that each person's life was greatly affected by how they dealt with SGM's.

He said everyone has SGM's. They can't be avoided. He enjoys seeing college students learning how to work through them.

He went on to tell us that SGM's are Self Generated Messes. One of the things that determines success in life is the ability to recognize one's messes or mistakes or wrong turns, evaluate the issue correctly and then move forward in a positive way.

Nobody is perfect. We all screw up more than once and often times make the same mistake repeatedly. The important thing is that we own up to our errors, make amends and then get on down the road.

As I was sitting through the ceremony I realized that although I wasn't up on the stage in my cap and gown, I too was graduating. The event was not just for my son but for me as well. He would be moving on to new places and challenges and so would I.

I had graduated from my role as a day-to-day advisor and caregiver. I would at least partly turn my focus elsewhere.

I would still be his mom but he would be away from me for weeks at a time. I wouldn't really know what he was doing all the time since he was away at college and so I would not be compelled to wisely counsel or discipline him.

I will always be happy to give him advice but I won't be running his everyday life.

Actually, since we won't have any kids at home I won't even feel the need to be a good example to anyone. I might just stay up and watch TV, sleep late some mornings, listen to strange music way too loud, wear weird clothes and go on road trips. Who knows how we might act if we didn't have our kids around?

I was out in my back yard the other day and was looking up in the sky and I swear that one of those puffy clouds looked just like a poodle. And I looked around and other clouds looked like bearded old men with bulbous noses and others like fire breathing dragons with long spiked tails. And then again they swirled about and just looked like clouds.

There are several types of people. Some are analytical, look at the clouds and only try to guess at the weather. They wonder what they should plan or how should they act with the weather doing this or that. But who can predict the weather?

Other folks look up and feel the warmth of the sun and don't think much other than how nice the sun feels at that particular moment on one's face. Then a cloud covers the sun and they are on to another experience.

Some people never even look up to the sky because there is simply too much work and too much to deal with and no time to waste.

And then there are artists, explorers and dreamers who look up and see the most amazing and fantastic things. They want to see what is beyond the conventional boundaries, search for new worlds, seek fresh meaning and discover what is possible.

Our world is made up of all sorts under the sun. Some see poodles, others see rain and a few strain to see distant stars.

I am not much at dispensing pearls of wisdom but in terms of food I think of tapioca pearls and Israeli couscous. The couscous is a pasta formed in small pearls. Couscous comes in different shapes and sizes and all are interchangeable in the recipe. The tapioca is comfort food, easy and makes a perfect end to any meal.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or e-mail



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