On Graduation…

I’ve heard it said before that “this life is but a dress rehearsal for the next.” If that’s true (and I happen to think there to be some merit in this understanding), then we are best served by paying closer attention to the scene changes in our lives … to the crescendoing moments that warrant an audience’s notice and applause therein.

When the shifting of a season takes center stage, God offers our hearts an invitation for reflection. We can either refuse its pause, or we can bow our souls to the moment to consider its worth as it pertains to the grander epic being played out in creation. If our “now” resembles in part our “next,” then there is value in the momentary pauses that fill our lives. Through them we hear the eternal whispers and glimpse the grander glories that await us on the other side of a long and, sometimes, fragmented obedience.

Center stage moments are God’s gift to us. I’ve authored a few of my own in the course of my forty-three years on this earth. More than these, I’ve sat ringside to the moments of those whom I love the most. This weekend holds one of those pauses for me. My son will graduate from high school.

I’ve walked this road before, thus granting me the benefit of hindsight. This one doesn’t sting as profoundly as the first one did. Not because this one is less important, less special, or any less embraced, but rather because familiarity removes some of the mystery of it all. I can better enjoy this milestone because the pain behind the first one wounded me deep enough to teach me … to shape and to modify my heart’s approach to the process.

There is worth in this moment. There was worth back then. But back then, I couldn’t see it. All I could do was muster enough strength to get through it. This weekend, I will have the privilege of soaking things in rather than soaking up my tears. Thus, I choose the pondering of a high school graduation and its merit as it pertains to the bigger picture. What is it about “turning the tassel” that speaks of a heavenly tomorrow?

Here’s what I think…

Graduations are launch pads. Behind them? Lots of time logged into the classroom of programmed learning. Ahead them? Lots of time logged into the classroom of experiential learning. One is the necessary predecessor of the other if the “other” is to walk easier—more truthful and more peaceful. Without the benefit of a preceding knowledge, our launching resembles a premature push from the nest that often ends with an unnecessary wounding. Sometimes the wounding is fatal, but more often than not, it leaves us with a limp that slows the process of our becoming.

There is a time to every season in our lives. This is my son’s graduating season. He stands on the launch pad of an incredible “next.” He’s ready to fly, and I’m ready to push, knowing that his wings have been fortified with eighteen years worth of feeding that have prepared him for the highs and the lows of the winds that are certain to follow.

He harbors just enough courage to take this step; I harbor just enough grace to let him do so. And between the two of us and our “just enough’s”, God is faithful to come alongside and offer his portion of “more than enough” to see us through this moment and to move us further into the promises of a better tomorrow.

There is coming a moment for each one of us … a graduation of sorts … that will launch us from the safety of our nests into the mystery of winged flight. The time we’ve logged into our earthly classrooms, coupled with the learning therein, will be the lynchpin to secure our safe passage. Some will launch prematurely, unable and ill-prepared to face the frontier of God’s forever. Some will launch at just the right time, with just enough courage and more than enough grace to land them safely into the arms of a waiting Father.

Either way, all will be required to make that step; thus, what you’re doing right now holds value for what you’ll be doing in God’s next. You may not think that this day’s unfolding matters for much of anything. You may think it matters little. But I think it all matters to God. Every scene of our lives—every mile we walk, every test we take, every prerequisite laid out for us in the curriculum of a heart’s shaping—is significant and necessary as it pertains to the turning of a final tassel when we stand before our Creator.

In that moment, God won’t be looking at the long list of credits that we drag behind us. Degrees and promotions and the applause of man aren’t enough to launch us toward eternal flight. No, what our God will be looking at is the heart that supersedes our fleshly gains. Did it beat for him? Did it walk for him? Did it love for him? Did it die for him? Does it, in any way, look like him?

That is the criteria for our graduation, friends. If we pass that test, then the tassel will turn, the diploma will be given, and the sacred commendation of our Savior will speak a final blessing of truth over our life’s journey…

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.” (Matthew 25:21).

If “this life is but a dress rehearsal for our next,” then there is much to be learned via a high school graduation. I will be paying attention to the details this weekend. God is ever speaking. How I pray for a heart to be ever learning. Thus, I pray…

Keep me as a student in your classroom, Father, all the days of my life. Keep my heart in a posture that is willing to receive your instructions as vital and necessary for the road ahead. Forgive me for thinking that I “know it all”; forgive when I make excuses for “knowing too little.” Teach me just exactly what I need to know, and then fully grant me the courage and grace to walk in that knowing until I get home to you and receive my final graduation. Amen.

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22 Responses to On Graduation…

  1. So much truth here, Elaine. That launch pad is somewhere we’ve all been, and will all be again. I pray we can all do the “enoughs” and let God do the rest!

  2. Elaine,

    These a such great thoughts to ponder in this graduation season!

    I have one graduating 8th grade next week.

    Thanks for helping to direct us to some spiritual enlightenment in it.


  3. Each time I read your posts, I think,”Wow! This is the best one ever!” Today, it truly is. I’m sitting here trying so hard not just boo-hoo at the words and the scripture, but I’m not doing to good! Oh, precious one, this post says it all! God is in Heaven nodding His head in aproval for these words of wisdom. I just love you! Thank you for this!


  4. This was so perfect for me right now. I’m definitely in that “graduation” from one part of my life to the next; a time of reflection and examination to see if I’ve learned what I was supposed to learn for this next chapter. A time to really sit in His classroom – just Teacher and student – and soak in the knowledge.

    Loved this. Enjoy and soak it in this weekend – how proud you must be.


  5. Awesome. I had a graduate this year too. My daughter earned her bachelors degree from LSU. THis post rings true for me also.

  6. I did a good many years in kindergarten, and then an equal number in what felt like years in Jr. H.S. My graduations came so incredibly slow for such a long, long time.

    I think I’ve advanced to higher learning too. It’s required I live on higher ground. My reach is better there.

    This is such a great piece. I know it’ll have even more color when once this weekend passes.



  7. Wonderful and thought provoking message as always I come here and receive MEATY MEAT!!!

    Love you and God bless your children and enjoy the weekend upcoming.

  8. You write beautifully dear one. And Amen sweet sister to your prayer. And I praise His Name that He is ever speaking!

    May the Lord grant you sweet blessings this graduation weekend.

    PS It was my uncle’s Bible in the pictures.

  9. I, of course, couldn’t read this post without thinking of my friend who just passed away. Sometimes our “graduation” comes quite unexpectedly. But you know, Amy was ready. She was busy living her life with a heart that beat for Him. We don’t want to be caught off guard — I hope I’ll always be found ready…

  10. There is always so much to glean from your posts. What really struck my heart tonight is when you wrote that your son has just enough courage, you have just enough grace, and God offers his portion of “more than enough”. As I apply that to my life (and my daughters), well, it’s just So perfect. So comforting. Thank you.

  11. Please let me know how things go this weekend! I’ll be thinking of you on that special day. The big day here will be June 5. 🙂


  12. As you know, today’s unfolding matters for much to me…and my family. Praying my response and reaction will be pleasing to the Lord at the close of this day…and until eternity. May I hear my Lord’s “well done” because my heart reflected His.

    I’ll be in touch later,

  13. Enjoy this special moment in your life and his! I’m glad you will be able to take it in better now but I know it will still be hard.
    Good analogy as always. You write so beautifully. each time I read your words, I wonder how you do it!:))

  14. I love this post! If only I will determine to live my life with a heavenly perspective in all I do. Not just the major things, but the minor ones, too.

    Oh, how I long to have a transparent heart, one that is pure, completely faithful to God. No side glances at the things of this world. One focus alone. One long look toward Jesus. That’s what I want.

    Thanks for your recent comments. I think about my grandmother every day. I think about her evn more lately because I am one myself, and I hope to be for my grandchildren what she was for me.

    You have a wonderful heritage, and you are such a blessing!

    Take care,


  15. Another wonderful post. This verse comes to mind tonight:

    Galatians 1:10: For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

    We (I) can get pretty caught up in the dress rehearsal, and in the performance, that I forget about the purpose.

    Thanks for the reminder. …

  16. Bless your heart, Elaine.

    I’m getting all teary reading this. I’m such a sappy thing when it comes to fledging the nest. Good thing I have a few years to get ready.

    MY prayers are with your sweet son as he prepares for the Walk. You must be so proud.

    From one mamma to another…take some tissues!

  17. So very good, Elaine. This is the time of year for new beginnings, and each of them bring their own hopes and fears.

    My son graduated from preschool yesterday, and I’m sure that when he graduates from high school, it’ll feel like tomorrow…

  18. Yes Lord, keep me as a student in your classroom…

    Thank you Elaine.

    In His Graces~Pamela

  19. I was led to your blog after visiting Andrea’s Blog (Parson’s Wife) and reading your comment.

    I learned a lot from reading your words. Too often things come spilling out of my mouth without allowing the Holy Spirit to first bless their meaning…and their purpose.

    Reading how your mother kept her pain close to her heart has taught me that not everything needs to be shared out in the open. Some things are best left to prayer and placed in the Hands of the Almighty.

    Love your Blog…beautiful writer you are…

    Blessings…Rebecca @AGatheringPlace

  20. Several years ago I did a study by the pastor of James and Betty Robinson…can’t remember his name right now.
    The study was on the life of Joseph and the lessons he learned.
    One thing the pastor said that has stuck with me for a few years now is this……God never marks our test with “F”, instead He marks them with the word-“Redo”.

    I do agree that this life is preparation for the time in eternity where we rule and reign with Him. Whatever we do in eternity will be a blessing to us because we are doing it for Him. But I sometimes think it will be the difference between cleaning the bathrooms and leading the angel choir. 🙂 I know being a little silly here.

    All I know is that I want to graduate…with honors. Because those honors will be what I lay at His feet. After that….I’ll do whatever He has need of me to do.

    Enjoy your graduation time….I am sure God will speak to you through this time.

  21. You’re right about the “launch pad” concept–once upon a time the ceremony was called a “Commencement.” It’s too bad we’ve gotten away from that concept–celebrating the forward-looking rather than the backwards glance. I’m glad the season goes more easily for you this time.

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