So, you are graduating. One day you are tottering by a table, the next you are wandering off to kindergarten. Before I know it, you are at a finish line, and we are scratching our heads wondering where the time went.
I’ve thought about this moment for a while—especially over the last seven years. As graduating classes came and went, I knew each year this day was one day closer.
Everything in me wants to hold on. After all, I have been holding on for so long. I was holding on when you could not crawl and even more so when you could. I was holding on when you first started to walk and swelled with pride when my services were no longer needed. I held your hand when you first walked to class and waited anxiously until you were home at last. I held the controller when we played Lego Indiana Jones. I held my breath when you learned to swim, but I beamed with joy every time you would jump for Daddy to catch you. I held your hand when you walked into the baptistry after a dramatic conversion in a school chapel. A few short years later, I was hanging on as you learned to drive, and I almost chased you down, when you were able to drive away on your own. For years I have been holding on, and today I would be fine if that never changed.
And yet, I know with every holding on there is an eventual and natural and beautiful letting go, for in letting go we find life. By letting go, we learn to fly. Our Heavenly Father taught us this when he says “he who would find life must first lose it.” Our Elder Brother showed us this when “He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” and let go giving millions life by being willing to lose his.
So, it is with us. We let you go today, but that does not mean we will abandon you. We will be cheering, supporting, and pleading with God to do great things in and through you. We will be laughing, praying, waiting, and watching to see the wonderful things you will do.
Today, my heart aches, but I know that ache will soon be swallowed up in anticipation. So, live my son. Live to the fullest. As one author has rightly said, “Heartbeats can’t be horded.” Manna doesn’t keep. So, Live boldly. Love deeply. Leave it all on the court. Surf the wave of God’s providence with eager anticipation and eyes wide open.
You have been a gift to me. Now, go be a gift to the world. The darkness needs the light you are gifted to bring. Barren souls need the refreshing water of your smile. Lonely people need your steady hand. And when you are tired or lonely or hungry for mom’s cooking, come home. We will leave a light on, even as we are letting go.