Ending and Beginning Words for a Graduate

Erin, our daughter, graduates from Oklahoma City University on Saturday.  She will complete a religious education degree as a Bishop Scholar with cum laude honors.  (Dad bragging)  We are headed to Oklahoma City today to attend the honors ceremony and reception, baccalaureate, and then the actual graduation ceremony itself, where Erin will give the invocation.

Graduations can get a little long and little bit more than the backside can stand.  It’s worth the two hours of hot air that comes from the dais when you get to see a special someone whom you love deeply and matters to you significantly grasping a diploma after years of hard work

Two speeches are given by the students at graduations; the salutation given by the salutatorian, and the valediction given from the valedictorian.  Salutation means “welcome” and valediction means “farewell.”  I have always thought the reason we have preserved the Latin words is so we who help pay for the education are reminded our graduate is educated.  The real reason, those two speeches remind us this is an ending and beginning.  The fact this is an ending and beginning is the reason we call graduations “commencements”.  They signal the beginning of the next phase of life for which the schooling has prepared the graduate. 

As Erin launches into her adult phase of life, (she is going to love it, rent, insurance, and all the fun stuff) we will offer to her our sagacity and wisdom about what she is leaving behind and what she steps toward.  I could go on and on with another dad talk while she politely rolls her eyes (never knew how she did that).  Instead I will borrow the words of another who captures my own imagination about living into a future.  Rainer Maria Rilke published a lovely book, Letters to a Young Poet.  His advice:

  • I would like to beg you as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Erin you will live your way into the answers for the rest of your life.  Be patient my child and try not to miss a moment filled with the divine grace of God.  Love you!

Hospital Hope

Early predawn arrival the quiet feels alive

The moments of check in, the necessities required

Family gathers around the warm fire of love that is practiced

Doctors and nurses fly in like Olympians on skates

The moment arrives and every emotion is awakened

Coping continues with laughs, smiles and concerns about things that could go awry

The family gathering grows, and it feels like a holiday with the background music strained by monitored concern

Talk, eat walk, take a seat, call, read, sit and talk some more

Is there any day more exhausting

Updates come and mixed feelings swell

Consoling and comforting abound even if they are in awkward ways

The day drags into the night and uncertainties abound as the clock ticks at paces that just seem unsound

They come in and say it is done and you wonder what that means.

You go into see her and it seems so……..

You talk to your family and to yourself even more.

Finally you take that walk back to room with a hospital hope that goes beyond you.

Hope rocks you to sleep as fretful as it may be

So you rise in the dark of another predawn

…….and hospital hope begins all over again.

Published in: on December 2, 2010 at 9:08 am  Comments (1)  
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Lincoln Proclamation for Thankgiving Revised for a Community Prayer

This is a prayer I will offer tonight at the Community Thanksgiving service.

On October 3, 1863 Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War issued a proclamation of national thanksgiving; initiating this tradition we gather to celebrate on this week.  My invocation paraphrases some of the words of that declaration.

God of every time and season, we bow our heads tonight as this year draws towards its close to acknowledge how you have filled it with blessings.  To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed in our land, we say thanks.  Forgive us when we are prone to forget the source from which they come.  We ask that our watchful and providential God penetrate and soften our indifferent hearts.  Remind us no mortal hand is capable of bestowing upon us the gracious gifts of the Most High God; who deals with our sin with unending mercy.  So tonight, we solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledge with one heart and one voice our gratitude for these gifts from above.

We ask our gratitude be a unifying force, which acknowledges the harmony of your ways.  We ask our gratitude be expressed in service to others; particularly toward those who have less in our community.  We ask now you receive our grateful praise in our worship and empower us with your Holy Spirit, so the name of Christ whom is the source of the best gift be carried from this place.  This is our prayer we ask in the name of the one who loves us most, Jesus Christ and the whole congregation says: Amen!

Published in: on November 21, 2010 at 6:04 pm  Leave a Comment