Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: GRADUATE (08/01/19)
TITLE: My Commencement
By Donna Powers
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If graduation means finishing a course of learning and testing and going on to a different phase of life; then I’m about to graduate.
I haven’t been in a school (well, not a traditional one), but my doctors have told me I’ll soon be in heaven, so my graduation” will be from my earthly life. Maybe you think it strange to think of my own death as graduation. But that's how I see it. Years ago, I was a professor at the local university, so I suppose it's natural for me to see everything in metaphors dealing with school.
Even before I got so sick, there were days I didn’t think I’d ever get through all the everyday tests and challenges of my life. I've always believed the Lord was my Teacher, and any challenge could be seen as a learning experience if I allowed the Holy Spirit to show me what God wanted me to learn. But when this illness claimed me, those challenges became even harder. There were days I didn't know if I would ever remain victorious. But I held fast to my faith, and I now believe I’m looking at life's finish line. I know I’ll soon be finished with my earthly life - and I’m ready for whatever God has planned for my eternity.
I know without hesitation: He has an eternal plan for me. I've read His Word and believe His promises. After a life of following God, I believe He is good. So, I know His eternal plans for me must therefore be infinitely good. I’ve heard the Holy Spirit whisper to my soul; and I know I’ll soon be in heaven. I’m tired and ready for His eternal Peace.
My wife is here with me. She's been a great support during this illness. I wish I could shout my thanks and final words to her. That would be my “commencement speech” But my voice isn’t audible any longer, so I can’t speak out loud. I try to show her, with my grateful eyes, what she's meant to me.
My wife tells me it’s OK for me to go, and I know she's telling the truth. After all, she knows where I’m going. Throughout our marriage, we spoke often of our shared faith. I try to form a smile, but my face muscles aren’t strong enough, so I just blink. How can I show her I’m ready to go? How can I signal my readiness for what’s next?
At universities across the country, happy graduates often fling their caps into the air. I read somewhere the first group to do this was a group of seamen who were graduating from their training class. Since their next assignments would require them to wear an officer’s cap instead of a midshipman’s cap, they flung away the caps they’d no longer need.
Where I’m going next, I won’t need the trappings of my earthly life. So, as a kindly nurse smiles down at me and gets ready to give me what I believe will be my last dose of Morphine, maybe she and my wife will understand me as I use my last surge of strength to fling my arm upward.
Oh, nurse, please understand! I’m not flailing in distress. Oh, my sweetheart! Please know I will see you again someday.
I’m imagining I’m flinging my cap - the “cap” of my earthly self - high into the air; where my soul will surely soon follow it heavenward.
"For ...the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--" 2 Timothy 4: 6-8
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