I’ve been to my share of graduations. Celebrations of a rite of passage, a task accomplished and a new journey ahead.
Most of them have been from high school or college.
This was my first kindergarten graduation.
Yes, this is a thing. I didn’t realize that so much attention could be focused on finishing this entrance into school. But it was done with panache–and a lot of attitude.
The opening number was entertainment. The children performed a song, complete with sheep masks and hand motions.
Ryken had missed the dress rehearsal. His knowledge of what was going on was limited, but he gave it his best effort. He was sometimes out of sync with the others, yet his enthusiasm made up for missed moves.
There was a brief intermission while the very young graduates exchanged their sheep masks for graduation caps. They marched in, and as each child was named, they went on stage to receive their diploma and pause for pictures. Each parent had submitted a description of the uniqueness of their child.
Each one of them were proclaimed to be personable and helpful geniuses in the making.
Some kids ran up on stage. Some refused to be on stage. Still others posed long enough that they had to be asked to get off the stage.
No dress rehearsal could have prepared anyone for this.
It was the most fun and funny graduation I’ve been too. Possibly because it was blessedly brief.
We all yearn for some kind of recognition that informs our hearts that we are worth knowing, that our presence is good and necessary. As we get older, the affirmations become less frequent; the encouragements don’t come as easily; our sense of accomplishment can feel overlooked.
We have no dress rehearsal for this life. No chances for a do-over when we make a mistake; no options for revising failure. Our mistakes impact our lives in ways we don’t want to embrace. One misstep can influence the trajectory of our lives.
Failure too often feels fatal.
That’s the lie.
God gives grace to those who ask for it. Unmerited favor that can’t be earned or paid for. Forgiveness for the mistakes we make because of the love He has for us.
Love not based on what we could ever do for Him. He chooses not to hold our wrongs against us if we know Him.
I can’t count the times I’ve said something without thinking and wished I could make the words go away. I imagine them as darts to the heart, hurting far more than any weapon could. The disrespectful way I’ve treated others because I was hurt or just didn’t care what someone else thought. How many times have I not cared how my actions or responses have hurt someone?
More often than I want to consider.
We’ve been given one life with the incredible privilege of being the best people we can be. Individuals of positive influence rather than negative impact.
We will blow it.
God knows there is no dress rehearsal. He’s given us this chance to live fully–and be forgiven for our mistakes freely. If we just ask Him.
God gives us courage, wisdom, and strength to do the next right thing.
No dress rehearsal needed.