Graduation Speech

We are driving home from a graduation party for my niece. I look out the window into the blur of passing cars and I see her reflection there: a chubby-legged three year old as flower girl on my wedding day.

And I am astonished.

Once again I am astonished at this thing that turns babies into young women.

To me, time is a one-way train. I cannot go back on this ticket.

But my niece stands on the threshold of the future. She’s hopped aboard without even looking back.

I’m trying not to be too sentimental. In this day of The Last Lecture and The Sunscreen Speech, my words could add little.

But it takes my breath away.

The eagerness in her eyes.

No glance over the shoulder.

And I ask myself, was I once like that?

And if so, why did I stop?

Why did the beauty there is in hope stop touching me?

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not one of these women who spend her days longing for the youth of yesteryear.

My life is beautiful. There is not one thing I would change about it.

Aw, but there is one thing I would change about me.

My eyes.

I would make them more eager.

I will fill them with hope.

I would open them to the beauty of each passing moment.

Why is this so hard when we wear the weight of a few extra years?

But it is.

Life presses in.

And we lose sight of where True Beauty comes from.

We move our eyes away.

I move my eyes away.

And so He puts things in my life to remind me. He gently reminds me to fix my gaze. He uses music, or stories, or art.

But lately, it’s been poetry.

What has He placed in your life lately to refocus your gaze? What beauty have you seen?

Is it the young, eager eyes of a high school graduate?

The smell of a freshly baked loaf of bread?

The feel of your infant’s skin rubbing against your cheek?

Oh, dear ones, He sends it all.

Thank Him today. And fix your gaze.

(When my boys graduate I am going to need a Xanax, or something. Will you all be here for me in a few years?)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down form the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

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If you would like a chance to win a spectacular poetry resource, visit my last post and get involved in HCB poetry challenge. It has helped me fix my gaze.


Comments

  1. says

    love this

    made me think of my daughter. She will be 21 at the end of the month. Looking forward with such excitement for the future finishing college going on to medical school.

    As you are familiar with my story it is my oldest that God has used to refocus my gaze. Laura as painful as it has been, it is so very good! I see Him, His work, His kingdom here on earth. It is well

    I pray that I will be here for you when you nudge those boys out of the nest, mine will have been long empty by then since my baby has a few years on yours. (he is 15)

    Thank you so much for all of your encouragement. Funny you should ask about a poem. It’s on my to do list this week 🙂

    Much Love,
    Tina

  2. says

    God has refocused my gaze through trials and suffering. He has not been the source of the suffering — but He has been the source of the comfort. Great is His faithfulness.

  3. says

    You know it’s interesting arriving at the empty nest season of life. I feel like there is an awakening within me…discovering “me” all over again. The years were filled with children and busyness that just seems to come with children. Now I’m in a quieter season….reflecting, noticing…almost learning to embrace life all over again.

  4. says

    Laura,

    I would say God uses many techniques through out each and every day. One is laughter. Even at myself.

    Another is the young children that He uses to touch my heart.

    And YOU my friend.

    Love ya

  5. says

    Yes, friend, Max Lucado. This is one of my favorites!

    Beautiful!

    My baby came home the other day and said, “Mom, do you realize I am officially a senior today?” The seniors of 2009 had cleaned out their lockers and left the school for the last time.

    I have never taken Xanax? Does that stuff work?

    Please be prepared to hold me up first, Laura. This is one finish line that we have in our sites. It is too close for comfort.

    I find as I get older, I am doing a lot more “looking over the shoulder”. I am finding that what is behind me is becoming much more precious to me. It seems much more apart of me. Even the bad things have been used for my good and I am thankful now. Very thankful.

    Love to you,
    Cheri

  6. says

    What a GREAT post….I’ll be here friend…when it’s your turn..to release your boys…trust me…it will be here sooner than you think.

    Our youngest son..will be a Senior this fall…and I’m ALREADY beginning to prepare myself!!! sigh.. :-/

  7. says

    The phrase..how time does fly..comes to my mind. Just posted today about the fact that it is our oldest child’s one year anniversary. So hard to believe that lovely curly haired girl is grown up enough to have been married for one year. God has been so good through it all. Now watching time fly in the other five as well…

  8. says

    My gaze has become a glance. I need to refocus and fall in love again. My heart’s lonliness and longing are calling me back.

    Re-fixing my eyes,
    Joy

  9. says

    Hi Laura,
    I am having trouble keeping up with gardening and blogging. I was thinking I need to spend more time on the Christian blogging. I don’t have time to catch up tonight, but wanted to tell you I enjoyed this post.

    I have also experienced what you were talking about, but as I get older, I have a feeling of excitement at the prospect of being in heaven. I’m not sure about your question, but God provides beauty to me every spring through gardening.

    God’s blessings! Sue

  10. says

    He has been using nature to remind me how beautiful life is.

    “My eyes. I would make them more eager. I will fill them with hope. I would open them to the beauty of each passing moment.”

    Beautiful! I want that too.

  11. says

    Pressing forward with new hope, new miles to be driven, new recipe’s to try, new shoes, newness. It’s so easy to look back,even with amazing blessings in my life than to look forward with enthusiasm. Life teaches and tempers that. A sweet reminder today. Thanks.

  12. says

    I have done a lot of looking over my shoulder too of late. But, I am putting it down to the practicalities of God, if that makes any sense!!! I think that God wants us to look back in order to help our young ones look forward, because they are so in the here and now; and by being able to remember things as they were for us – the importance we would put on the unimportant, the intensity of the moment, the flying-in-the-face-of all-things-wise-and-safe – will help us, I think, communicate better, be empathetic, and also arm us with the things that we may need to say and do to help them through those years when they may need it… There is, of course, so much more to us and our looking back – we are such complex beings!!! – but that’s just my little take on it for now (bet you’re glad I stopped there ;)!!!). As for being there for you when you’re boys are grown… I’ll probably be close behind you, so we can commiserate over the seas… We may not have met in real life, but this meetings of the minds has been such a blessing to me, and I hope it will continue for many more moons to come…

    Loads of love to you on this day… Naomi

  13. says

    One of the truly great things about working at a college is that you get to see the sheer joy and terror on the faces of the graduating seniors. They begin their lives every day. I need to do the same.

    And yes, I’ll be here in thirteen years.

  14. says

    Oh Laura, the first thing I noticed about you were your eyes!!
    Open. Warm. Encouraging. Eager. Love. Light… I will be there for you when yours graduate – my daughter in law just graduated from med school That is an eye opener. I knew her when she was in the 5th grade, water fighting girls vs boys in my front yard!

  15. says

    Sweetie – I am unsure why but I have bust into tears from the start of your message to the end. I used to write a series on Nurturing Women on a separate blog and I recall speaking about this very topic when I turned 40 over 3 years ago. I suddenly realized that time was going by and while my life was and is wonderful there were things about “Lisa” that needed some changing and one us my ‘URGENCY’ in living. I needed to live not solely in the care giving of others in family and ministry but that I had to live in what JESUS was showing ‘Lisa’ and enjoy those moments and make time to just breath and relax in His presence and while some didn’t understand OUTSIDE the family why I had to make some changes to refresh myself in the Lord, it was still necessary.

    Perhaps that’s what has brought the tears today because they are tears of understanding and gratitude.

    He uses His word to draw me into those places and times of beauty that I have somehow rushed past at times and usually it is old familiar Scriptures that have been hidden within my heart.

    Congratulations to your precious niece and may the blessings of the Lord and His favor walk with her.

    I think of my daughter who called me last night (uhoh here’s my tears again) and she has two precious little girls and the oldest was not listening and as her Daddy was pumping gas she was screaming and my daughter could barely talk to me. I asked to speak to my precious granddaughter and as soon as she hears my voice she stopped screaming. I loved on her and corrected her about that screaming (she’s in a bit of the 2’s phase) and then reassured her of my love and my daughter took the phone and said “Mommy (something she doesn’t call me often as an adult I’m usually Mom) but she said “Mommy, you still make everything better”. I bust into tears as I am now and I said, “where did the time go?” My baby has two babies. My other baby is preparing to go to college in under 2 years. Where does it all go….

    I’m sorry I totally left a long winded message. Feel free to not post it but I hope it will bless your heart in my sharing and YES INDEED I WILL BE HERE FOR YOU LORD WILLING WHEN YOUR SON GOES TO COLLEGE.

    I LOVE YOU!

  16. says

    My second sons walks across the stage tomorrow morning. I cannot even type this without my tears. And while I am looking forward to his moment, I’m burdened by the emotion of it all. Still and yet, I choose it. The “letting go” of my children has been the seeding of my greatest growth as a person. Jesus has seen to that.

    Pray for me.

    peace~elaine

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