Newsletter April 2008
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise
thy works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”
It seems that the older I get, the more aware I become of the
passing of generations. Just like the tide goes in and out with
clockwork regularity, so does one generation pass the torch on
to the next…and time marches on. I remember like it was
yesterday when our youngest son, Dave, graduated from high school.
I was in good spirits as the event began, laughing and joking
with various family members. It was one of those occasions when
the whole clan was able to get together to celebrate a milestone
event. Then they started playing that traditional old processional,
Pomp And Circumstance music (you know…”dum, dum, dum,
dee, dum, dummmm, dum,” with the graduates slowly walking
in from both sides of the auditorium wearing their emerald green
caps and gowns, looking all grown-up and semi-serious. Boy, that
is an emotional song and when the graduate I recognized as the
boy I had known since he was born came walking down the aisle…I
about lost it. No, I didn’t about lose it, I lost it! The
tears came welling up from deep inside and seemed to have a mind
of their own and just kept coming down my face. I had a handkerchief
soaked before the music stopped. I remember telling myself over
and over to “get it together and stop this crying nonsense.”
Marveen slipped her arm around mine and asked me if I were OK.
I sniffled that I was but still had to fight back the tears many
times during the ceremony.
When the ceremony was all done and the dinner afterwards was
history, I laid in bed in the dark trying to figure out why I
was feeling so emotional. (Guys are a little slow on the uptake
at such things.) I am normally not given to getting weepy so this
needed some self-therapy to figure out and with some wisdom from
Marveen, I finally deducted that it wasn’t just one thing…but
a combination of factors that broke loose the tears.
I remembered how my family got all dressed up on a June night
in 1964 and drove into town to sit in a hot gym and watch me walk
down that aisle. I was feeling pretty grown up and even though
I didn’t have an inkling of what I was going to do with
my life, I had at least made it through high school in one piece
and was proud that my family had made the effort to come and celebrate
that milestone event with me. I had only a vague idea of the sacrifice,
prayers, love and work that my folks had put in to keep me on
target so I could have a good start at life. I remember standing
around after the ceremony seeing all of my classmates with their
moms and dads, siblings and grannies and grandpas, uncles and
aunts and cousins, looking at that diploma, and giving lots of
hugs, kisses and congratulations. Right there, at that moment,
and with most of us kids hardly having a clue, a torch was being
passed and a generational transition and blessing was happening.
I remember my mom and dad giving me a hug and a little package
that contained a nice gold watch with a tiny little diamond right
under the twelve o’clock mark. Along with it, they passed
on to me that they were proud of me and…final instructions
to not do anything dumb that night and to get home at the set
On their way home, I imagine my mom and dad might have had some
of the same feelings that I did after my own son’s graduation.
That awareness that things do come around full circle is an emotional
discovery. What had been learned in school was important, of course,
and they saw to it that I kept my grades up the whole time. But,
years later, I realized that what my parents had given me of themselves
was an even greater blessing. From them I saw, by example, that
being honest, kind, caring, diligent, and courteous, really was
important. I learned from them that you don’t die from hard
work and that it feels good on payday to know that you earned
what you made. Watching my dad carve a good reputation in our
little town stuck with me. Watching my mom give and serve the
Lord with her gifts in our church helped me see that it is dedicated
people like her that keep the whole thing afloat. Knowing that
they prayed for us kids every night is a wonderful thing to inherit.
Seeing them live their lives as giving and generous people, when
we really didn’t have much financially, showed me that there
are things of greater value than money. Knowing their love for
the Lord and for their family was priority, remains an anchor
in my life…lo, these many years later. The emotion
that I was feeling at Dave’s graduation was incredible thankfulness
and a deep hope that I had done my part to pass on to him the
generational blessing that I had received.
Here in a few months, another generation of high school kids
will don their cap and gown and walk down the aisle and across
the stage to get their own handshake and diploma from the principal.
Most likely, the same music will be playing that has been played
for graduations for years and years. Sitting in the grandstands
will be families with teary eyes as they watch their young son
or daughter cross the invisible line onto the launching pad for
their own adult life. I suspect there will be tears and laughter
and hugs and kisses…and more than a few “I can’t
believe you made it” exclamations. But, when the hoopla
is done and the cars file out of the parking lot and head for
home…my hope is that everyone, including the graduate, will
know deep down that the blessing of God that filtered down through
the love of friends and family is indeed a priceless thing.
God Bless You.
P.S. I thought those teary days were past me…but, after
being blessed to perform the wedding ceremonies for all three
of the kids, I discovered another truth…my eyes still leak.