It’s graduation time here in Georgia. Last night Michael and I forgot that tidbit and ended up at Dominick’s, which was packed with parties of 10, 12 even 20 people- all celebrating a graduating senior. After the hostess informed us of the wait and I internally stomped my foot (I was starving!) we sat down in the foyer. I watched the families laughing, hugging and feasting. Moms, Dads, Aunts and Uncles, Grandmas and Grandpas paraded past with cards (that means MONEY), special cakes and “You did it!” balloons. As I sat there I started thinking about how life is a series of graduations and I wondered: Am I graduating? Am I celebrating?
God graduates us from seasons. It signifies growth, moving on-progress. The tough part is we have to do the work. God designs seasons for us because He wants to do a work through us. It’s a partnership. One that looks more like college than high school. See in high school you have the parental accountability of making sure you do your assignments that you graduate “on time” and with your class. In college- well, let’s just say it’s your first opportunity to truly self-manage in the real world. It’s why there are some young adults on the 4 year, 5 year, or 6 year plan.
Of course in God’s education those seasons can be a week, a month or a decade! (I’m a slow learner- any one else? Anyone?) As I sit here writing I am reminded of some of my graduations. I graduated divorce. I graduated corporate America. I graduated parenting. I graduated breast cancer- just to name a few. We are all too happy when God graduates us from the hard seasons, but God graduates us from the good as well.
A while back God graduated me from directing plays and weekly sketches at 12Stone. It was our way to leverage the arts and humor to introduce people to love and truth for 20 years. Yesterday I was cleaning some boxes out and I found scripts, DVDs, photographs and notes. I had a moment of looking back fondly on a season where God did incredible things. It’s why I had a period of kicking and screaming when it was time to move on. I couldn’t see what was next so I clung to it like Rose clinging to that oak door turned raft in the Titanic! But God was good and he graduated many of us to the next season of our lives and callings through it. Remember Rose had to blow that whistle and slide into the icy waters to live! Do the work. Do the time. The first is your responsibility the second is God’s. Where do you need to graduate?
What do you need to Celebrate? Acknowledge the people who were a part of it. Hopefully as those families at Dominick’s were passing the garlic bread, a graduate was passing around gratitude. No one graduates alone. There are teachers, supporters, and classmates who are all a part of the journey. Some will remain with you and others will not – and that’s okay. Just don’t forget to let them know they mattered. Fly the “We Did It!” balloon high!
Acknowledge the accomplishment. Graduating high school, college or a season in life is hard work. Sometimes in our haste to move forward we forget to look back. But that’s exactly what we need to do. Before we walk into our future we need to pack up supplies- memories of what we learned, how we fought and what God taught. Now this is not permission to be in a Bruce Springsteen kind of “glory days” rut. It’s easy to want to live in a place of success and comfort but God continually calls us up to the next league of play. Take your lessons with you; you’ll need them.
God loves celebrations. He established seven feasts all with elements of rest, remembering and honoring God. We need to get better at this.
So what is the hard work you need to do to graduate? Who or what do you need to celebrate? Your next is waiting for you. Finish this season well first.