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Topic: Graduation (08/30/04)
TITLE: Putting it on Paper
By Kristin Slavik
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High school was merely putting your time in until you could leave and do something important with yourself. So why did she have to sit and immortalize the feelings she had about graduation? She stared again at the blank paper. She flipped open her dictionary. Maybe the exact definition would spark something, anything, to create this final article.
“Graduation: to certify as to having satisfied academic requirements.” Nope, that was no help. She looked around the park and saw many people out enjoying the day. It was a warm May day, the kind that steal many away from whatever they were supposed to be doing. Suddenly a verse popped into her head, “For I know the plans I have for you…” That was one of her favorite bible verses, but it came to mind almost like someone spoke it to her. She began to write the words down on her paper when the gentle voice was back. “Be still and know that I am God.”
Amber looked around, certain that this time they really had been spoken. Off near a grove of trees she noticed several birds squawking at something on the ground. She leaned forward to try and see what they were making such a racquet about. She saw a small bird on the ground that was hoping in circles. Puzzled she watched for a minute longer and realized that the birds in the air were the parents. The small bird must have fallen while learning to fly and the parents were trying to encourage him to try again. Eventually the small bird did get off the ground and the parents flew with him up to the tree. Suddenly there were many birds singing as if they were celebrating the little one’s return.
Amber smiled and looked down at her paper again. ‘OK, God I am still now, but what does this have to do with graduation?’
Across the lawn children were squealing and laughing as they ran around the playground equipment. Amber’s gaze stopped on a small family sitting apart from the playground. They seemed to be so happy to be together. The little boy who looked like he was maybe 2 or 3 spotted a ball roll across the grass. He squealed and moved like he wanted to go get it. The mother turned her back and the little boy got up slowly and took a few small tentative steps towards the ball. The mother turned around just as he fell. She screamed something and Amber got up and started running toward them to see if they needed help. By the time she had reached them the mother had scooped the child in her arms and had tears running down her cheeks. The boy’s father was trying to find out what had happened and Amber was close enough to hear the mother’s words. “He walked, Jason! Little Austin walked!” With those words the father also started to cry and began thanking God. Amber started to turn around, but the boy’s mother stopped her. “Were OK, it’s just that my little boy has a rare bone disease. The doctor’s told us he would never walk. He is three years old and he just took his first steps.”
Amber did not quite know how to respond. She felt tears rising in her own eyes. “I am so happy for you”, she said. “You have a beautiful family and an adorable son.” She walked back to her belongings slowly. She suddenly felt honored to have witnessed such a moment. She was turning over the encounter in her mind when the whispered voice came back to her. “For I know the plans I have for you“. She looked thoughtfully at her paper. Maybe graduation was really less about getting to the next hurdle and more about celebrating all of life’s little accomplishments. Maybe Jesus was celebrating those little accomplishments every day. She thought again about the bird and about the little boy. Suddenly she knew exactly what her article would be about.