Sunday was my turn to play again. It was also Graduation Sunday and my baby boy is a graduate, or will be on June 14. He might as well be now, since he just informed me that he doesn’t need to be at school tomorrow until 9:30, and Thursday he gets the day off, which leaves one exam on Friday, one next Monday and the last next Tuesday. Then he’s free until next Friday when he has graduation practice before (finally) the big day next Saturday.
I agreed to play last Sunday because I thought it would keep me from being nervous for my son. It did, and it didn’t. We have two worship services; he had already spoken at the first one. So I had a chance to choke up and swallow the huge lump in my throat when I saw him walk in the sanctuary in his gown. And I got to choke up several more times during the service as I listened to each of the seniors talk about their journey thus far and where they were hoping to go next. And of course to just cry when my baby spoke about open doors and open hearts. When the time to play the prelude came around things felt pretty normal. I began the piece, a very easy one actually, and it was going ok.
Then I looked up and saw my son, along with the other graduates, walking into the sanctuary. And I lost it again, got lost in the notes and just started trying to find a G chord to land on so I could quit playing. I just wanted to end it and get away from the keyboard. What began as a relatively smooth rendition ended close to disaster. Beginning to ending; it was terrible.
But the graduation services, and the luncheon that followed, were wonderful. Our pastor recounted that these students were bed babies when he came to the church eighteen years ago. It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been eighteen years, but it has. We’ve known some of these families since before kids. Our children have grown up together in Sunday school and day care and church clubs. During the luncheon our youth minister provided a way for the students and family members to offer blessings to one another. She gave each student a key chain. There were keys on each table. Anyone who wanted to speak a blessing to the students also gave them a key. (a bad description of a very meaningful experience…) We listened as students and parents and friends pronounced blessings upon one another. It was humbling to hear others speak kind words to our son, and to hear him speak kind words to his friends. All in all, a wonderful ending to a wonderful day.
The next two weeks will be filled with endings, and beginnings. My little boy is finishing high school, winding down his childhood and taking some baby steps toward adulthood. Ending and beginning.
We’ve had some ups and downs during his four years of high school. Actually, it’s probably been more downs than ups. High school started out tough for him, personally and academically. But each year he’s gotten better and better, so that now he will be finishing on a high. Rough beginning, super ending.
In August he’ll be going off to college.
A new beginning.