Ugly words hurt.
Clashing colors make me nauseous.
Stripes with plaid make me dizzy.
Grim news turns my stomach
Loss twists my heart.
A word stabs
A look penetrates
Thoughts and experiences are, for me, physical.
I quite literally feel your pain.
Accept me and my heart bursts!
Eyes that listen warm me
Ears that see startle me.
My body tells me how I feel.
I am especially susceptible
Easily ground down to nothing.
Easily lifted to everything.
My body tells me how I feel,
but not how to feel.
I tell it.
Fast ball coming
Take a two-footed stance:
Me (step) and Thee (steady)
*Thank you, Justin Timberlake
Caps and gowns everywhere! Smiling faces. Proud parents. Adoring Grands and even congratulatory hugs from siblings. It’s a great occasion and we mark it with well-deserved fanfare. Pomp. and. circumstance.
So many graduates! I imagine each of them bouncing on their own personalized trampolines, springing giddily into the air, paying no heed to the creaking complaints of metal springs better suited to children’s play. These celebrants are ready to boing to their next appointment: be it career or college, military or volunteer service, or perhaps just promotion to the next grade or next level school.
Congratulations! Way to go! But, I pray, dear young people, that this day is more than lift-off for you. May it also be deflection point.
Because so much in your world to this point has demanded that you achieve maximum height: jump higher, score better, achieve more, set new records or perform the best aerial trick. Success on that life-trampoline rewards perfect landing and launching from the same spot. No deviation. Simply master the repetitive motion. That’s more tantrum than lift-off.
I pray that on this graduation day you may embrace a little deflection. Accept permission to stop jumping straight up-and-down.
On an Easter evening two millennia ago, the disciples of Jesus experienced a graduation ceremony of their own, but it was no cause for celebration. Jesus had been crucified, died and was buried. Up until then, when Jesus said, Jump; they said, How high? But now, without the one who was their teacher, leader, and counselor, they cowered in fear.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. ~ (John 20:19-22)
The disciples needed deflection. Following the leader was no longer an option. To stay the course, they needed to chart it themselves. In the peace that only Jesus can bring, their Lord sent them.
Dear Graduates, congratulations on your arrival at this day. From its precipice, look into your distance to notice what calls you, and listen for what draws you. Breathe that in. Let it inspire you. Let it energize you. Allow it to bring you peace. And then, let it deflect you toward a future that has been designed for you. Play that angle. Even the slightest deviation, multiplied by your landing force, will send you into new air space that you have not yet sampled.
Memorize that feeling; it’s called courage. You’re charting new territory. Take your momentum with you and spring for all your worth. Hey, bouncing up and down on your backyard trampoline never had much growth potential anyway. Let the deflection take you — to scary places, challenging places, and into untrod territory that desperately needs new minds to solve old problems.
Go and may the peace of Christ be with you.
Let the Spirit of Christ lead me.
Not, my spirit,
Not, the spiritual forces,
But God, Himself
in human flesh.
This is my role model,
my driving force.
Let me not be deceived
by things that would distract
though they might be.
They are empty,
meant for other gods.
Let my eyes stay focused on You.
Let my heart beat only for You.
Let my mind stay fixed on You.
Let my every sensation remind me of You.
Lord, you are my One and Only.
the Giver of life,
the life worth living.
Catch me in your updraft
and carry me along on
the wings of your Spirit.
“those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
~ Isaiah 40:31