My youngest son just graduated from high school.
As fast as the years have passed up until now, it seems like they hit another speed with this last son. When our oldest son graduated high school eight years ago, we still had two more children at home to parent…and life didn’t seem to be changing that much. And when the second born daughter graduated, we still had the youngest son six years behind and felt like we still belonged in the fraternity of parents with school age kids. But in the blink of an eye, it seems, John finished high school and is now getting ready to launch into his new world at Liberty University later this year.
I’ll never forget the time I drove across Texas with my three kids. When we crossed over into the state and saw mile marker 879 it was a little depressing. But one mile at a time, we made our way until we finally saw marker 1 and knew we were finally in New Mexico. And eventually, after many tanks of gas, we made it to our destination.
Graduation is like a mile marker – a big one. Every road trip is lined with markers that help you know how far you have gone. When you graduate, you are passing a significant marker that reminds you you’ve come a long way from where you started. As slow as the first miles seemed, suddenly the journey is over and you realize how far you are from home.
But those little green signs mark more than the distance you have come. They also tell you how far you have to go. And depending on whether you are leaving home or headed home, your sadness grows or your excitement increases with every passing mile.
And as a father who understood many years ago that John’s ultimate home was not with me, but with his heavenly Father, passing this milestone is not making me sad. I may be emotional but not because his graduation means we’re losing our last child from the nest.
It means John – and Teresa and I – are that much closer to home.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.