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For: “From the Pulpit”
May 20, 2017
“The End or the Beginning?”
Graduations and commencements - like the celebrations that go with them - are as common as weather
alerts in May. Very often these annual rites of passage are viewed as the end of a long and demanding
process. And, of course, that is partially true. They are also the beginning
of whatever comes next in the graduate’s life.
And there, as they say, is the rub. What, exactly, comes next? Once the inspirational commencement
speeches are done and the mortar board hats tossed into the air, what is the direction that each
graduate will take? Many do not know. They may have a pat phrase they use with inquiring family or
friends to indicate what they plan to do, but often that step is never really taken.
There is nothing like coming to the end of something without a plan for what’s next. Just ask somebody
who hits retirement age and has no clue how to act. Or a worker who loses a job with little or no
warning. Endings and beginnings can have tense relationships.
That’s not a surprise if you are familiar with Ecclesiastes 3. It’s the famous “time for everything”
passage. A time for this and a time for that. Okay, but how are you supposed to handle some of those
abrupt transitions? For a few folks, they are easy. For most people, they are not.
If you know someone who is graduating this Spring, celebrate with them. Offer congratulations. Be
supportive. Let them dream about what comes next and share those hopes with you. But don’t be surprised
if there is a note of hesitation in their voices. Taking that first step to a new beginning can be a
big stride indeed.
Dr. Gary S. Eller
Westminster Presbyterian Church
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