Phooey on Graduations

     Graduation. For most, the word conjures up feelings of excitement and a sense of accomplishment, the end of one chapter and eager anticipation of the next. Am I in the minority when I admit that I hate the word? Even in high school, I dreaded the day of convocation. I loved school. I never wanted that season to end. I’m one of those creatures of habit who fight change, the ticking of the clock, the page of the calendar being ripped off and thrown away. The thought of my little ones leaving the nest makes me crumble.
     In case you haven’t guessed, I’m still wiping the tears away since my second, Jess, graduated yesterday. She’s such a disobedient young woman. I told her repeatedly, “You are not allowed to grow up!” Alas, she did in spite of my command, and even took joy in the journey to breaking her mother’s heart. 
See how she mocks me with her cake? 
     As I reflect this morning on all the “graduations” in life, I’m making a resolution to try and embrace them. After all, it’s worthless to fight the inevitable. You can’t argue with the old saying “The only certainty in life is change.”
    I’ve found King Solomon’s words to be true. Imagine that. There really is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance . . . Get the picture?    
     The good news is if you’re going through a valley right now, a time of grief, tragedy and heartbreak, it will end. The cold, lonely night won’t last forever. Eventually you will feel the sun's warmth, and your joy will return.
     Brace yourself for some bad news: If your life is filled with so much happiness that it's just one big party, that won’t last either. As sure as the sun rises, it also sets. The pain, sadness and confusion are coming. No one can predict the intensity or duration, but something is going to happen. So goes life.
     Anyone else feeling melancholy? Before we sink into a desolate pit of despair, let’s rethink this. I’m a look-at-the-worst-case- scenario type gal. My dad used to say, “Plan for the worst. Then you’ll be prepared if it happens and relieved if it doesn’t.”
     Worst case scenario? Death. I’ve been to several funerals where the bulletin read, “Graduation Celebration for ___________.” What an awesome outlook. Passing from this temporal world and graduating to a perfect, eternal life with our forever-loving Creator. The ultimate commencement.
     One problem: I hate graduations. Remember? (At this point, I have to pause, eat breakfast and figure out how I’m going to finish this post.)
      Thirty minutes later, I return. Sigh . . . There has been no Eureka! moment. Groan . . . The light bulb above my head is still turned off. Whine . . . What to do? What to do? 
     I collapse on the sofa. I hear a quiet voice welling up from within. "Trust Me. Know that I will walk with you through every graduation. I will carry you as I lovingly cradle you against my chest. Don't lose sight of your final graduation when I say, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.'"
     The best news? There are no graduations in heaven.