Last night I attended a graduation ceremony where four former students of mine graduated. As I sat and listened to their senior challenges, a host of memories came flooding back. Each one has grown and matured, yet they still have the unique characteristics that make them who they are. I smile when I recall humorous incidents, and I can’t help but shed a few tears when I see how they have matured. I feel happy that I have been privileged to walk part of their journey with them.
Amy is petite and still has her sunny smile. She has a gift for blessing and encouraging others. She is not speedy, but is persevering. In her challenge about contentment, she challenged us that if we are not contented with the way we are but do nothing about it, then we are just plain lazy.
Diane…determined and persevering in spite of difficulties. All through school she struggled with seizures and headaches, which accounted for numerous doctor visits and surgeries. But Diane never wanted to do less than anyone else. It took her 12 years, but she has her diploma! Her challenge about attitude is something that she has lived out in her own life. Her determination will take her far in life, and her pain and difficulties have made her very sensitive to others who struggle.
I call Jason the Gentle Giant. The student with whom I could see eye-to-eye in 4th grade-literally! He is so honest and transparent. I remember the day he went home and told his mom that they had a bad day because Miss Miller forgot to pray in the morning. This past year he worked through some difficult relationship issues, and then he challenged us that happiness is a choice.
Josh was only in my class for one year, but I have watched him grow and mature in the years following. He was a hero that the younger fellows looked up to, and it was not unusual to see him giving one of them a high-five. This past year he faced some mountains in his life, but with encouragement from others he faced them. He is a stronger person because of it.
Speaking of mountains, those were addressed in the Commencement Address. If a first grader would look at the number of books to complete until graduation, it would seem impossible. But lesson by lesson, year by year, it gets done. He challenged us that when there are mountains to move, God gives us a shovel. Little by little, day by day, the mountain gets moved.
I look forward to my final graduation day! Only God knows what lessons I need to learn yet before that day. I want Him to be a part of my journey and I want to have Him to be the one that gives me the congratulatory handshake with the words, “Well done!” But now is not that day, I still have a shovel in my hand and lessons to learn. I will continue to persevere!