I don’t know how the stars aligned all at once, but on the same day that my son graduated from kindergarden I also finished my first “season” of high school ministry at ROCKHARBOR. I went to the final two graduation ceremonies for different high school students in our ministry. As I was driving home, it got me thinking about this last year.
First, I still can’t believe that I get the chance to live in Southern California and drive on the PCH to get from one graduation to the other. That is something I hope I never get used to. Sure I can’t afford to live down here, but it truly was one of the deciding factors of our life change last year. I had always wanted to live closer to the beach…so I did.
Secondly, it sure is fun to be able to celebrate my son’s achievements by taking him to his favorite place on earth. He loves Disneyland, and has been talking about the opening of Carsland forever. It worked out perfectly that we went over there for about 3 hours, celebrated his face off with Disneyland food, a parade, and three Carsland rides. At 4:00 he looked at us and said, “i’m ready to go home”. Odd kid, but I have to appreciate that he knows what he wants. He had had enough, and it was time to go, simple as that.
I am so proud of him and all he has done this last year. It has not been the easiest year of school and to be honest there was much about his school setting that we would have changed if we could. However, I watched him go from a difficult situation where he was crying every day before he went to school to asking about when he would go, sharing what he was learning, and generally being excited to be a part of the whole environment. Add that to the progress he has made in different areas of math, writing, social skills, and overall growth. We are so proud of Jackson and all he has done. He is a hard worker and makes the most out of life.
Though I am only 10 months in, this has been one of the most challenging years of my life. Not much went the way that we expected. If I back up a whole 12 months I can honestly say we had no clue we would be here on June 21st, 2012. I have learned that I am much better at somethings than I believed I was. In shaking up my patterns I have seen that there were parts of me that had become dormant due to routine. I think I am the kind of person that needs new and different just for the sake of new and different. What I had was great, but it had become old and the same.
God has been so faithful this past year. He has not only continued to provide for us in unexpected means, but we have come to know Him in ways that I had not experienced in my life. I have seen through the people we have met, the students in my ministry, and our church family that He desires a level of intimacy and involvement beyond what I have ever known or thought I could have.
More than all this, the past 10 months has become a sort of mirror for me to reveal both good and bad characteristics about myself. At 37 I am still a work in progress and not nearly there. As I said, there were just parts of my being a husband, father, friend, minster of the Gospel, and person that I had allowed to erode to a point of atrophy. I would love to say that it is all fixed, however I know that is not true. I would love to say that I had responded appropriately in all situations and circumstances this past year. That also is not true. I continue to take things too personally and put too much responsibility on myself. I still find my identity in what I do rather than Who made me. I believe that most of this is rooted in the best of intentions, however most of it is also replaced a depth of relationship with God that He desires for me. I guess I still have work to do.
I believe that though I would not choose to repeat much of this last year, I am forever grateful that I went through it. It shaped me, defined me, redefined me, and even invigorated me.
That is much of what graduation is, isn’t it? To celebrate what you have accomplished and all the people who were involved in it. I also look towards the future. It is unknown and full of mystery but it is also full of promise. It holds the potential to be life-giving and life-changing for all who are involved.
So turn your tassels with me, won’t you? We are part of the class of 2012.