10 May, 2010

Graduation

Graduation. Commencement ceremonies. I’ve attended a lot of these in my lifetime but there are several I'd like to mention.

Once I attended a kindergarten graduation. It was precious. All the little graduates in their white robes, grinning from ear to ear, and looking for mama and daddy. Then, seeing the parents look at their child with such hope for their futures.

Another memory I have was the day my nephew graduated from college. His heart of love is what makes him special. He is the giver of great hugs! However, this young man struggled with school. The years of ups and downs seemed endless. His preferred major was one of the most difficult – he struggled more. He persevered. The day he walked across the stage at graduation we all cried. This precious man had achieved his goal.

When we lived in Texas, the graduation ceremonies were fantastic. There was loud cheering from the audience! It was like an athletic event in some ways. The joy was palpable. The celebrations were extravagant. For you see, many of the students who graduated were the very first college graduates in their family.

Last year, I attended a graduation that I’ll never forget. A friend of mine was graduating from a master’s program at the University of Alabama. Her family could not attend so I was her mom that day. It seemed she beamed from the moment she entered the coliseum. I was sure that everyone noticed her amongst the thousands gathered. How could you not? She was beaming with joy and pride. She finally walked across the stage, was handed her diploma, shook hands with the Dean and the President, and then received an unexpected hug from Ray as he was seated on the podium with the university officials.

Afterwards, this reserved woman was crying in joy. Crying tears that her goal had been achieved. Can you imagine moving to a new country, learning the language, applying to a university, being accepted and finally receiving your degree? What a journey this Asian woman had endured.

I imagine the great cloud of witnesses written about in Hebrews.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12: 1

Let’s run the race. Not the race for human achievement but the race He has marked out for us. There is glorious freedom in those words for me. I am not responsible for mapping out my own path; I am responsible for running the race that has been marked out for me. I don’t see in those words where the race will be easy or always fun. But I do see that He has marked my path. Whether I’m graduating from kindergarten, whether I’m a young man just starting my career, whether I’m from China and just hearing the name Jesus for the first time….He has marked my path and urges me to run towards Him.