So far, I’ve had a pretty relaxing summer. We have had a few big events, but nothing compared to the school year. But this week, all that changed.
Let’s see: the travelers arrived home from Peru at 2:00 am Sunday. Then it was a pretty quiet Father’s Day, where we ate hamburgers, held alpaca blankets, and heard all about their trip (with a surprise visit from Uncle Stephen and my cousin Jack!). Then Monday my Grandparents arrived from North Carolina for the festivities. I’m pretty sure there was nothing big Tuesday, but who can remember?
Wednesday – double graduation, Thursday more preparations (and I think Mayra’s family is coming into town one of these days? There is so much, I don’t even know.), and today (Friday) is setting up the church and last-minute shopping for the Wedding Reception, tomorrow.
Following our Wedding Fiesta tomorrow, we’ll have church Sunday (Massimo and I are on for music – of course), followed by my sister Susannah’s Graduation party. Oh, and in the middle of all that, Massimo has been working extra early and long days to finish some big orders at work.
Let’s just say, emotions are on short fuses these days, and we are just plain tired. But the Grace of God shines through, as always. Massimo got a raise this week, out of the blue. And I couldn’t be more proud and thankful! I’ve gotten to see relatives and friends more than usual, and some that I haven’t seen in a year. I can’t wait to celebrate my brother and his wife (still sounds weird) tomorrow, and, cherry on top: I got to attend my 13th Hale-Ray High School Graduation to see two sisters graduate!
And that was probably the highlight of my week. I’ve been to a lot of graduations (13 at Hale-Ray, 6 college graduations, and a few others). Most of them are generally the same: gowns, hats, “reach for the stars”, “remember your past”, etc.etc.etc. But there is still nothing like seeing someone you love walk across that stage. There is something about that moment, that tradition – it’s like it’s all been leading up to this moment. I’ve seen it many times, with many different people, and now Susannah and Emily have also participated in the rite of passage. They’ve closed one chapter of their lives, and have the pen to the paper to write the next. Well, I suppose it’s more accurate to say read the next chapter, since you are not really the writer.
And that brings me to the shortcomings at your graduation. Don’t get me wrong: it was beautiful and honorable and Hale-Ray did a great job. But being at your ceremony also reminded me of what was missing: Jesus. (There was mention of God, but it was in the Pledge of Allegiance and a song.) Graduation advice tends to be filled with cliches and slogans that make for light, cheery speeches . (I mean, every big event does: weddings, baby showers, birthdays – you name it!) But if you want real advice, the kind you can look back on months and years from now and it’s still the Capital-T Truth – you have to go straight to the source.
I struggle with this. I have gone through periods where I read a lot, and then times where I can’t remember the last time I opened it on my own. One trick I have for getting back into it is to read the Psalms: they are short, beautiful, and jam-packed with the most honest, brutal Truth. I like to read through and underline the promises and actions of God, while circling my actions. This way I can meditate on who God is and what he is doing, while also learning what my response should be. I found this Psalm today for you girls, and I think it pretty well sums up the adventure on which you and your Heavenly Father will find yourselves. Moving on from high school is scary and exciting, and sometimes you can feel pretty alone in this big world. But if you stick tight with The One who made you and loves you more than you can imagine, then everything will be okay (even during crazy weeks like this one!).
Hear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.
You are my God; save you servant who trusts in you.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.
In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name.
For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in the truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
For great is you love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
The arrogant are attacking me, O God; a bend of ruthless men seeks my life – men without regard for you.
But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant your strength to your servant and save your faithful [daughter].
Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see if and be put to shame, for you, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
Congratulations, girls! Stay strong in the faith.