Graduation is next week, times two, and the events leading to it will never end—senior showcase, top 10% dinner, National Honor Society celebration, scholarship night. And why did I volunteer to chaperone the all-night graduation party?
I feel dizzy.
The calendar declares what we have been doing over and over for the last 17 years—gymnastics, voice, dance—what else? I see work entries that await me—staff retreat, caring ministry luncheon, the congregation’s annual meeting the same weekend as the Conference annual meeting, plus 2 sermons and 3 worship services next week. And who is in the hospital today? Oh yes, David. When will I get there?
Only sheer determination will preserve my life.
I close my eyes and the cacophony subsides. I hear a tiny voice in my ear. It is the voice of Hawley, my first born by 2 minutes, reading her graduation speech, seeking my approval, 350 words, no more. She begins with a Walt Whitman poem.
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring…
It’s beautiful. “Are you crying, Dad?” I never cry, but now I couldn’t hide it.
In the other ear I hear singing. It’s the voice of Lydia, my second born, singing from A Little Princess at her senior showcase.
I don't want to go along with the crowd
Don't want to live life under a cloud
Give me some air and space
And sun on my face
I want to live out loud
I shed more tears, uncontrollable now.
I am mistaken. What gives me life isn’t sheer determination. What is giving me life? Two tiny people, one in my right arm, one in my left, my smile peeking through the surgical mask. My heart warmed by humble pride as I witness the young women they are becoming. My hope for the world restored. I live, as Whitman’s poem concludes,
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse