Monday, May 28, 2018
This week, my son passed the mile marker from being a middle schooler to the cusp of high school in a few months. The day of his 8th grade graduation was moment of reflection for all of us. First, while it certainly did not seem that way when we walked him for hours every night before he fell asleep as a baby, time really does move fast, in the blink of an eye. My son is now taller than me. My son is certainly smarter than me because his math homework looks like random numbers all hanging out together. As we sat at the restaurant after the ceremony, we talked about highlights of middle school...which were many. Some of the regrets. I saw someone who is not only transitioning to a different location, but also a different stage in life. So often we lump life together in stages, like a linear time line. We define and distinguish childhood/school years from marriage from children from middle age from retirement. And while those are certainly important markers, there are millions of other ones, we usually stream right past, perhaps because Hallmark doesn't have a card for moments to say, "Congratulations on finding a new prayer practice that is creating space for calm in the midst of the rain." Or "May God give you comfort and strength to deal in new ways with the co-worker who has the nuclear codes for your emotions right now." Yet, those small, daily decisions do make a difference and matter. Those tiny transitions, when it isn't a leap to a new location or packing up boxes or even setting out on an adventure, but when it is taking the next right step in your own slow growth spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Perhaps why the bigger mile markers loom so large is because we finally give ourselves the chance to breathe and be and look back. We say things at graduations that are really true of every day. Dream big. Be yourself. Let kindness and goodness be your compass. We say them, but it is the middle of an ordinary March day when we let those words actually impact and influence our very lives.
Here is an invitation for you...did you happen to attend a graduation this year? Was there something that stuck or stayed with you? If you didn't have the joy of sitting on hard wooden bleachers as tears filled your eyes, let me lend you two quotes I loved from my son's ceremony. First, the principal said, "If no one is laughing at your dreams, they are not big enough." I've been letting that roam around my head and heart this week. Second, my son's favorite teacher said, "You are a class that cares and respects and takes care of each other. And the world needs 89 people who care and respect and take care of one another." Maybe if you and I can listen and learn and live the truth of that statement, we could even push the number over 100.
May the traces of God's grace move in your life especially in the ordinary days this week.