Friends, Romans, compatriots, editors, parents, children and fellow wordsmiths: what a joy to share in this milestone day. I come in peace and humility to validate, dedicate, and possibly resuscitate. In honor of this anticipated occasion, and since I AM wearing shoes – the dress-up kind, and quite cute I might add, remarks will be brief. Will someone please turn on some cool air?
There is a lovely lady over at the local assisted living facility, a first grade school teacher for decades, whose mind wanders in and out, sometimes even up and down. She has known me most of my life, yet my name escapes her. For some reason, she always remarks how much I look like my daddy. I take that as a compliment and smile. It must be the cowboy hat.
One thing she does recall with great clarity is the inscription she has chosen to be applied to her eventual tombstone. It will read, “She was promoted to heaven.” This sentiment is very special to her, and one she considers brilliantly clever and original.
Her compulsion to repeat those engraving instructions at fairly frequent intervals put me in mind of the old West. The epitaphs were a colorful and succinct synopsis of the dearly departed. The short, sweet, and often humorous tribute spoke volumes.
For example: “Here lies John Too-Tall Smith, He wishes he’d ducked”
“Jim Bob Fellony stole a horse - died with his boots on”
“Poor ole Liza Magoo, she never seen it coming”
You get the picture.
What if, etched on those stone slabs, was a true assessment of our credits? Would there be enough to get us upgraded, elevated, graduated?
Academically, most of us understand the concept of death, but in reality, there may be multitudes that don’t comprehend God’s primary revelation. To grasp the idea of eternity would prompt preparation. The dismissal bell is clanging in the distance and the pesky term paper is still in rough draft. That is the best metaphorical picture I can color.
According to Scripture, passing to the forever level is a commencement with some serious meaning. If the requirements have not been met, there is a not-so-nice place of detention waiting.
As the self-appointed advisor du jour, believe me, my precious alumnus siblings; you can take that reality check to the bank.
It sure seems like I talk about our impending expiration dates ad nauseum. That is why I am thinking the Lord wants me to keep nagging at the brethren. Every subject takes a sharp turn and heads straight for more admonitions about what we are “here after”. All it takes is one word to prime the story pump and start a flow right down final-resting-place River.
It is not my intention to incite fear and trepidation, but rather confidence and hope in your future. I believe I heard Dr. Mom say that a spoonful of sugar tends to make the medicine more palatable. I think she meant to try it; it is good for you.
So, my fellow students, before we are presented with that piece of paper and flip our tassels, remember, in this quarter we have been to our first day, to elementary school and to the prom. We have been examined, peer pressured, bullied, and taught. We have done life lessons, broken the rules and now, can you believe it, we are GRADUATING.
It was a pleasure marching through this curriculum with you. You are all gold stars in my book, true class acts. When you have finished your assignments, it is my fervent hope to see you at the reunion. Come on, YOU know the one!
In conclusion, here’s what to put on my vital statistic granite: I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK. Of course, dear ones, that is subject to change. It is not carved in stone.
Thank you and Bon Voyage. Now, let’s eat.