I drove through Chicago during rush hour and across miles and miles of nowhere watching the corn grow to get there. I brought my own bed and food and drinks, and I carried cash in greeting cards from other relatives. I had a dress dry-cleaned that I didn’t even wear, and I sat on an aluminum bench for an extra hour so I could have a front row seat.
I did all this and more so I could watch my oldest nephew graduate from high school. And it was worth it.
Though I wondered along the way if the occasion seemed like as big a deal to him as it did to me when I was 18. Graduation day seemed like the most important moment in my entire life 22 years ago, as I donned royal blue cap and mortar board for the ceremony. I was giving a speech that day, and I had pored over those eight minutes of words for weeks. No one told me until it was over that my speech was only supposed to be three minutes.

I don’t remember those words that seemed so significant, now. And the six student speakers at my nephew’s graduation probably won’t remember theirs in 22 years. They probably won’t remember the clear, blue sky or the fire trucks and ambulances that paraded by with sirens blaring after the caps flew through the air. Who knows if they will remember the orange Gerbera daisies they received as they left the stage, or the recessional anthem that ended before even half of the graduates had left the field. I don’t remember any of those kind of details from my own special day.
But sitting there in the stadium filled with possibility and potential, I remembered the hopefulness that filled my heart that day. I recall thinking I could do anything, and planned on it. As I sat listening to the “follow your dreams” and “do what YOU want to do” speeches, I rediscovered that 18-year-old girl somewhere deep inside me. She had forgotten what it felt like to be inspired, to have the world by the tail.
I’m not 18 anymore, and I have the mortgage to prove it. But as the corn fields flew past the windows of my home-bound car yesterday, I prayed that Jesus would instill me with a little of that pomp and circumstance again this summer. 
That He would remind me that every morning I wake up still breathing is a commencement ceremony of sorts.
Photo of the 1913 Barnard College Graduation, via the Flickr Commons