Graduation season is in full bloom. This year my youngest child will move her tassel from one side of the mortarboard to the other. Ready or not, life moves on!
In some ways, graduation is kind of a forced “goodbye.” It’s about as close to a rite of passage as we have in our culture. Graduates can end up feeling a little like Beaky the Buzzard, one of my all- time favorite Looney Tune characters. You may remember those two proper English sparrows, Monte and Evelyn, who find an egg and hatch it as their own. The baby turns out to be Beaky – a hatchling twice their size. Later, Evelyn decides it’s time for Beaky to learn to fly on his own. She sends Monte to do the job, who says, “Beaky, my boy… it’s time for you to learn to fly!” Beaky’s response is, “Nope, not gonna do it! Not gonna do it!” Sometimes a little push is a good thing…
It is a scary time for a young person to be venturing out into the world. But the same could be said in every generation. Each one of us must face challenges and make the decision of what we will do with our lives. How a person lives and what a person does makes a difference – for good or bad. As the character Maximus in the movie Gladiator says, “What you do in this life echoes in eternity.”
A few years ago I gave a baccalaureate address to a graduating class and the advice I gave to them really holds true for all of us. The text I used that evening was from Micah 6 – “What does the Lord require… but to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God.” If we all followed Micah’s advice, the world would be a much better place.
Do justice… Live a righteous life. That doesn’t mean be self-righteous; there’s plenty of that already. Instead, be honest, trustworthy and seek always to do the right thing. Be a person with one face – not changing identities depending on who’s around. Be a person who lives with purpose, authenticity, and compassion (see next!).
Love Kindness… Live a loving and graceful life. Living in love means learning to love and value everyone – no matter what they can or can’t do for you. Learn from everyone. Surround yourself with GOOD people – people that expect the best of you and will hold you accountable. If all you are hearing from your friends is what you want to hear, then they probably aren’t very good friends.
Walk humbly with God… Remember, there is a God – and it isn’t YOU! Worry less about controlling the people and events around you and more about surrendering control of your life to God.
Most of all – remember that you are loved. You are not alone. When you remember that, almost anything is possible. Now, go spread your wings and fly!