…Or is it right? I am sure someone will clarify this tradition for me before the week is out. I am not graduating from anything, mind you, but I am proud to have a son to complete this phase of his life. I am trying hard to not sound cliché when I write that it seems like yesterday when we were taking this nine pound infant home from the hospital and immediately our lives were forevermore changed, BUT it does seem like yesterday. Like those nesting eagles I wrote about a few weeks ago, soon he will be launched from our home and into the waiting world (we do plan on changing the locks). Many of you parents are going through this too. It is a good feeling, but one that comes mixed with a little nostalgia for the past as well as some understandable regrets – there is much I would do differently if given the chance to “do-over.”
Do you remember your first graduation? For most of us it was High School, as it was in my case. The dignified ceremony for Putnam County High School was held in the auditorium of Rock Eagle. I was part of an august class of 109 students. I remember next to nothing except for lumbering up and receiving my diploma and feeling as though I had just been handed a ticket to the world. That was 27 years ago and I have not seen most of my classmates since. A few have died. Many never left the dairy capitol of Georgia. Some, so I am told, moved to far parts of the globe.
Whether you are graduating from a school, or have someone in your family moving the tassel and moving forward, we are all on some level graduating. We are all moving from one phase of life and entering into something new. Sometimes what we face is exciting and open-ended, like a new career or a growing family. Some “graduations” are moving into the abyss of the unknown and the way ahead is unclear, perhaps even threatening. I wish I could write and say, “every day is a holiday” and therefore to be faced with optimistic excitement, but that would not be truthful. Some graduations are painful.
All graduations need to be marked with a shared community. Formally it happens in auditoriums and meeting halls. Informally it may be as simple as a supper table. Community is one of my favorite words for the church. It is where we gather and we share with one another as we pass through our graduations. From birth to death we are marking the seasons for God. We are constantly graduating until that final graduation.
We will not always be able to climb every mountain and some of the roads less traveled are dead ends. Traveling together as the community of Christ, however, means that we will share with one another to the very end. The end, as Easter reminds us, is then the beginning.