Category Archives: culture

Dear Graduates, chart your own course

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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 pointtrampoline high jump

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.

DSC_0344Memorize 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.

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Can we live together, the Earth and I?

From the vantage point of our Silver Line metro rail car,
we traverse Tyson’s Corner, and survey the expanse.

pexels-photo-58602.jpegTowering glass buildings and tangled roadways,
elbowing out the newly-leafed trees and occasional grass
who are gamely attempting to stand their ground.

“How can people not see that we are the bacteria which has infected the land?”
my daughter asks.

sky-earth-galaxy-universe.jpgSeems an apt observation for this Earth Day 2018.

We needy newcomers have overrun this place.
A distant memory it is, for those who conceived and pioneered it,
when the greenery of living kind opened its door in welcome.

They were here first.

What right do we have…
to take without giving?
to use without replacing?
to squander what’s precious?
to extinguish what’s in limited supply?

What right?

What must the bird think from her, er, birds-eye view,
of the constructed landscape etching out the vanishing majesty?

What must its Creator think from His vantage point,
of the decision to entrust dominion over it to humankind?

Can we live together, you and I?

We are All Learning to Walk

Walking,
it’s as natural as breathing.
Put one foot in front of the other.
Move it on out.

It wasn’t always this way.
Once, we couldn’t hold our head up,
couldn’t roll over
couldn’t sit without toppling
couldn’t rock on all fours
could not even crawl.

Imagine,
there was a time
when we were stuck in one place,
couldn’t move without help,
needed someone to pick us up
and carry us.

We went where they took us,
when they took us,
had no say in the matter,
just happy we got to go
for a ride.

crawling baby

But once we got creeping
and then on to crawling,
we were going places,
places on our own,
pulling our self up,
cruising along the coffee table,
going who knows where?
didn’t care.

What if you let go?
who SAID that?

What if you let go?
are you CRAZY?

What if you let go?
with both hands?!

What if you let go?
I let go

and there I stood.

Look at me!
and then, I went!
one foot, then the other…
Where am I going?

Moving on out…

Falling
getting up, and
getting up again,
rolling, rocking,
toppling, crawling,
creeping, cruising,
pulling up to
standing.

Walking,
it’s as natural as breathing.
Put one foot in front of the other.
Move it on out.

We are all learning to walk.
First we must stand.

baby walking beach

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