I’m always really happy and really sad when graduation comes around. With this being my last year in the River Valley, the feelings are definitely accentuated. I’ve known some of the kids walking across the stage today since they were 10 years old. Some I just met a few weeks ago. Some I didn’t even know. I’ve subbed for most, nearly all, of them at least once, and for many I’ve subbed numerous times. Some I’ve gotten to know quite well, like younger brothers and sisters. Some are still like strangers. Some I’ve been able to help through difficult times in their lives. Some I’ve seen grow in their spiritual life in remarkable ways. Some I’ve seen make some major mistakes and then get back up and do okay in the end. I’ve seen some screw up in little ways their whole lives and still not have things figured out.
Some I’ll see again, I’m sure, somewhere down the road. Some I’ll never see again. Some will have changed much, some for the better and some for the worse. Some will pursue their dreams; some will fail miserably.
Some will remember me as a man who made a difference in their lives, never to forget how God used me. Some will remember vaguely that guy who used to work in the schools. Some won’t even remember me at all; I’ll disappear into the anonymity of past faces and names.
Some I’ll never forget. I think of Seth as a freshman hanging out until almost midnight to ask me questions about God. And then there’s Dakota, who’s stubborn and bullheaded but with whom God will one day do much. Or Hannah, the most talkative and loud student I’ve ever had in a class. And I think about Jeremy, whom I only met just this year but who really grabbed hold of the things of God and who wouldn’t let go. I think of Delaney, how only in the last two years did she really decide to go for it with God, and I think about how there’s much God has in store for her if she’ll continue to follow him. And I think of Sticky, and I wonder how he’ll do, whether he’ll remember what we taught in Campus Life or just go about his life…
I worry about “my” kids, but I know that the God whom I love is stronger even than their stubbornness. He somehow managed to reach me, after all, so I know he can reach, protect, and guide these young men and women I’ve come to know.
My prayer and my hope is that each would find their purpose in Jesus and fulfill all that he calls them to do and to be.