Lipsey: From the mouths of babes

By DANA LIPSEY COLUMNIST,

The month of May has left me with an echo of the graduation march, ”Pomp and Circumstance,” bouncing off the dense walls of my temporal lobe.

I can’t seem to get this theme music that officially announces the arrival of summer and signifies that yet another Rite of Passage has been completed out of my head.

The tune spins like a never-ending hula-hoop, and often times escapes in the form of a really bad, off-key, sporadic nose hum.

It began weeks ago when I received in the mail my first graduation announcement of the season. I opened the ornate envelope to release a picture collage of a bright faced young woman peering up at me, all hope and smiles. Then came the faint recollection of the instrumental notes, floating and familiar, the sound that I knew would usher her and so many others donned in caps and gowns into a new phase of their lives.

The announcements kept coming, and the music grew stronger. But, out of the half dozen or more I received this year, I actually only attended two of the ceremonies, both last week and each a day apart. One was for my very own son, who graduated from high school with friends who are like extensions of our family.

The other was for my five year old great-nephew and an ensemble of other pre-schoolers.

The latter service also included a group of six year-olds who had completed kindergarten and who wore tasseled mortarboard hats and vibrant blue robes.

Both sets of graduates marched in front of their audiences to my now intimate companion, ”Pomp and Circumstance.”

Each service was, in its own way, moving. I’m glad I got to witness them so close together, since one truly marked the end of twelve years and the other marked the beginning.

The seniors are taking flight into adulthood and are deciding what paths they should travel. Their choices will matter more than they now know.

They must take the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” as the most serious one they have ever been asked.

The tiny kindergarteners are just learning that they have wings and are awkwardly flapping them into first grade.

At their ceremony the kindergarten graduates were each literally asked the before mentioned question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?

The answers they gave were innocent and probably unattainable. I mean who really gets to be a race car driver?

But then, one perfect little girl stepped out and after a slight pause she said, “I want to be an explorer.”

There were a few sweet snickers from the crowd, but as she turned to take her place back in line, the part of me that has no filter wanted to stand up and shout, “Amen! Me too! I want to be an explorer too!”

She gave the most logical answer to this question that I have ever heard.

Maybe we should all want to be explorers.

I think that if there was some way to culminate a host of heavenly voices, they might all sing out one single word, “Explore!”

Explore God.

Explore His Power.

Explore the world He has placed in front of us.

Explore the pained look in other people’s faces.

Explore their needful situations.

Explore the abilities He has given us to change.

Explore the depths of caring.

Explore forgiveness.

Explore the concept of Love.

Explore that part of you that was made for eternity.

Explore peace.

Explore holistic activities that connect us with each other and with Christ.

Why?

Because nowhere, and at no time, can we be sedentary in any part of our lives, and display the glory of He who made us.

Not with our bodies, not with our minds, not with our actions, and certainly not with our spirits.

The more we search for Him the more we find ourselves.

If I were to give any advice to any graduate I think it would be this. Give every area of the life you have been given back to Christ, and then explore every inch of it.

There is a verse in the Book of Matthew that says, “out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou (God) hast perfected praise.”

The Glory of God certainly saturated the small voice of that beautiful little girl last week. Praise was perfected as she squeaked the desire of her heart into a hand- held microphone. Even though she didn’t know it, her words were left in my thoughts and now dance to the music of “Pomp and Circumstance.”

The two have become one, standing behind a podium each morning, a keynote speaker, giving me a charge for my day.

Maybe it sounds crazy, but aren’t we all just trudging from one stage of our existence into another?

Aren’t we all tired of just existing?

Aren’t we all still trying to figure out what we want to be when grow up?

What great freedom there is to only want to be one thing in this life and have it encompass everything else.

An explorer.

“I want to be an explorer.”

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