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I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Commencement speeches, like so much else in 2020, are either postponed or cancelled altogether. Some ceremonies will be virtual, not like being there in the least, but a gesture of the “closing of one gate” and opening another that graduation should provide.
So, to my comments to the virtual Class of 2020, two comments at the outset.
I apologize that the adults in charge of keeping our world safe, secure, and healthy have stumbled, badly, in their duties. They’re only human, but they have a higher duty, and now, we’re all trying to come up with a more workable path to some sort of “normalcy”.
Pray, as you have not prayed in your life. Pray not for something, but for guidance.. for you, for me, for each other, our families, our country, our world. Prayer works, prayer heals, prayer guides. The work, healing,and guidance that emerges may not be what you pray for, but it provides a guide, a path to the gate to the next step in your life. The answer to your prayer may surprise you.
As you begin to make your own adult decisions, especially the big ones, consider: what is the best thing that could happen if I pursue “A”? What is the worst thing that could happen? You will know what to do.
And, be each others’ gatekeepers.
You have been sounding boards for each other, in the classroom, listening to each other at meals, in late night, soul-searching conversations in your residences, and, perhaps, with the person who wants to understand you more than anyone, and you, them.
Especially, the latter.
When you enter a serious relationship, you are the guardian, the gatekeeper of another person. They may say “I can do it myself”, but the fact they are also willing to lay bare their deepest joys, fears, sorrows, and highlights to you means you’ve taken on the most important gate keeping job of your life.
You both will be opening and closing gates during your life. Some may be fences leading to vast open spaces where the two of you can run. Others will be gates to high walls keeping you in the darkness outside. Those will be the gates that will test you and demand from you strength you didn’t know you hard, but your partner is depending on you to help each other pass through, no matter the consequence.
You can do it.
Do not be afraid.
Be really scared, but do not be afraid. God goes before you, always, and will give you rest.
And know, all will be well, beyond any gate, and onto the path to your next adventure in life.
God be with you.