Actually, that title is about to expire. You will only be our Seniors for a few more hours. Then you will officially become Grads. I realize today may feel a little anti-climactic. You have put so much time and effort into the past month and a half, and then you hit submit on the last test or project. That was it. You were officially done. No big fanfare. No shouting in the halls. No hugs from friends. No last-week schedule packed with events. Lest it be easy to feel like you lost too much, let me remind you of some of the things you have gained.
You have gained resilience.
You have learned to face adversity, keep going and finish well. This is not the last hard thing you will face. Some things in life will be much harder, but whining doesn’t help. You have learned to get up, start a new day, try again. Even when it wasn’t fun anymore.
You have gained the ability to think outside the box.
One thing this craziness has shown us is how vital it is to find new ways to do old things. To throw out what doesn’t work and try something different. To creatively problem solve. That’s a valuable life skill you will carry with you. That will help you move up in your career and change your world for the better.
You have gained a deeper understanding of what it means to trust God — and what it means to know He is faithful.
Christianity in the abstract is pointless. Christianity “in spirit and truth” lifts us up above the disappointment and stress and fear that sticks like mud and would suck us in. It teaches us to feel and believe that saying, “God is good all the time. All the time God is good.” It is no longer trite. It is a settled conviction in our hearts because we hear His voice and we trust our Father. That doesn’t just happen. During hard and lonely times, that intimacy with God grows faster than a middle school boy in a growth spurt. I know about both those things. Don’t waste those times.
You have gained the admiration of your faculty here at BJU.
Of course, we have grown to love you over the years you have been our students, but this weird, strange, uncomfortable, (insert your own adjective here) end to the semester has shown more of the character we already knew was there. When you left, we experienced a real sense of loss. All that was most fun about being a teacher left with you, but you encouraged us. You will never know how much your kind words meant to us as we tried to make this a meaningful learning experience for you. For that, you have a special place in our hearts.
Lastly, you have gained a college degree.
You started school four years ago with this end in mind. Now you are here. As you go into the next phase of your life, whether that be the workforce or a graduate school, know that our best wishes go with you. We cheer you on. We excitedly send emails to other faculty when we hear you got a job, got married, had a baby. Let us know so we can cheer with you.
So today we celebrate your graduation virtually and in our sweatpants. We will watch the festivities from our living rooms and back porches, coffee in hand. Apart but together. I look forward to seeing you in the fall when we can have another good excuse to put on our black robes and goofy hats.
Until then, God be with you.