Last Saturday I attended my nephew’s high school graduation. Having attended my fair share of these events, I was grateful that there were only 44 students in his class. Not only did it keep both the duration and the crowd responses in check, it allowed the principal to include a personal comment about each graduate as his or her name was called, followed by the words, “we were blessed by your time with us.”
Some of the comments were touching – apparently one student had overcome some enormous odds to walk across that stage. I wasn’t privy to the circumstances, but the kids and faculty certainly were, and it mattered that this was mentioned. It mattered a lot.
Other comments were those that get made about the students who simply came to school day in and day out, studied hard, did their work, turned in their assignments, and didn’t make any waves. While every teacher wants a majority of kids like that, it seemed harder for the principal to come up with something unique for each of them.
And then there were the kids who make life interesting. With just a phrase or two, it almost seemed as if I could envision the entire high school careers of these young men and women.
Maybe because I raised one.
One of those students was described by the principal, upon calling her name, as “a human exclamation point.” I laughed out loud, even as I cast a glance at my own 21-year-old version of the same, sitting beside me.
It got me wondering… when I “graduate” from this life, when my name is called to walk across the threshold of the pearly gates on that inevitable day in my future, I wonder how God might describe me. On the one hand, he knows me far better than that principal knew her students. In fact, not only does he know me, he created me. The things about me that make people smile or roll their eyes or walk away at times – are all little wrinkles that God included in me when he formed me.
On the other hand, there is the way I choose to live my life with the freedom God has given me. I’m sure that even God rolls his eyes sometimes at the things I think or say or do. The life I am living out is an interesting blend of his sovereign, unique creation and my reaction to both the sin and the grace in my life. Same for you.
So… when my name is called, when your name is called, what might be said?
I honestly have no idea what God might say, but I think I know what I hope gets said by the people I leave behind.
I hope they might say, “we were blessed by your time with us.”