What I wrote on the back of my college graduation commencement program in 1981
thumbed through volumes of my personal journals dating back to high school to find the following piece that I'd scribbled on the back of my college graduation commencement program as I sat in the sun-drenched quad in front of Benner Library on May 25, 1981. Today, I will gather with fellow classmates of Olivet Nazarene University to celebrate our 30-year reunion (I'm really not that old; I was a child prodigy!). Here's what I wrote that morning, unedited:
As I sit here in the thirty-seventh row
amidst a sea of caps, gowns and tassels,
it all seems a bit hazy now.
I guess, like most things in life,
the anticipation seems greater
than the actually occurrence.
However, the meaning is not in the occasion,
but rather in living out the preparation.
Pomp and circumstance isn't an end in itself,
not the "high"; more, a sending.
I like the idea of commencement.
Commence: start, begin, get going!
These gowns remind me of death itself!
But, I suppose they can also call attention to
hope for life after death, too.
in this hour of my life, I ask you
for your very close, abiding presence.
I have not placed my trust in men and their wisdom,
but have placed it in You, in whom is hidden
the treasures of all knowledge and wisdom.
I don't seek the applause of people,
I ask for guidance and grace--
that will be sufficient for me.
Thank you, God, for your watch care, love,
and "still, small voice."
You have brought me this far.
Yielded, I continue to listen, to heed.
I ask for strength to serve your Kingdom.
Help me seek truth,
whatever it costs,
whatever it takes.
In you I put my trust.
Photo: Jared Emmanuel Hay, the second of our four children, graduated from ONU in 2009. Abby, our oldest child, graduated from ONU in 2007. Sam, our youngest child, is now a freshman at ONU. Becky graduated in 1983. I finished in 1981.