Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Graduation Reflections

Just a little less than four years ago, we brought our daughter to the soil of Hope College in Holland, MI. Like many freshmen, she was excited and a little afraid.

Sometime that weekend, we went to a worship service with her led by the chaplain. He preached on Psalm 1, one of my personal favorites. It begins:

            “Blessed is the one who does not walk in the way of the wicked, 
            or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers.
            Her delight is in the law of the LORD and on his law she meditates day and night.
            She is like a tree, planted by a river which bears its fruit in season.”

He said that he sometimes would go to a particular area of the campus called “the pine grove” and would pray, 'Lord, make me like a tree.'

I remember him with his hands up, swaying, and thought he might be a little nutty.

But he instructed the parents assembled that day with those words. He said that we should pray, ‘Lord, make him/her like a tree.’ Of course the idea behind that prayer was that God would work in our children, growing them into people like that righteous person in Psalm 1, a person who lives in communion with God and flourishes as God intended.

So that is what I did these past four years, perhaps more earnestly at the beginning than at the end. 

We, like many other parents that day, brought a vulnerable little sapling and planted her in the soil of Hope hoping her roots would grow deep. Storms came and went and many times I worried whether the little sapling would survive. Sometimes, my little sapling bent so hard under the weight of a stormy blast, I feared she might snap.

As it turned out, the storms did not break her. In fact, they made her stronger, as they often do. And now, at the end of four years, with roots now deep in the soil of Hope, she is a strong young tree, the sort that Psalm 1 envisions.

And I could not be more proud.