As I look at these last few weeks of school, I think about all the things that are ending. Several of my closest friends, even an old roommate, are graduating. In a few short weeks, five hundred people will walk from one side of the stage into a different world of marriages and mortgages and workplace dramas.
It is likely that you are either one of those graduates or someone like me who will be watching in that crowd of people for the familiar face who poured into my life from across the hall for three years.
Endings force us to confront the full nuance of emotion. We are proud of our friends for achieving something that is a privilege and an honor. We are sad to see them go. We are blessed to have made so many memories with the people that God has put in this weird microcosm of a university. We selfishly want to make more with them in those same halls.
I find myself in these times talking to God a lot. Most of these prayers come out as hopes. This is perhaps a reflection of the written corporate prayers I have recently read so many of. As I was thinking about what I wanted to write for my last column of the year, I kept coming back to prayer as an expression of hope for Taylor’s graduating class of 2021. Here is that prayer.
I hope that you never become jaded. I hope that you can look people in the eyes and tell them you love them and mean it. I hope that even in your deepest, darkest moments, you still remember your inherent worth imparted to you by a savior who did not need you, but chose you.
I hope that you see this broken world and make some small corner of it a little better.
I hope you fail and then learn from that failure. I hope you wake up in the morning, plant your feet on the ground and remember that loving people is evident in a thousand choices every day. I hope you remember that we are not defined by our past, but by the sum of our actions.
I hope you listen to that still, small, sinking feeling in your gut when you are about to do something you know is wrong. That voice is your conscience and it is always the truest path.
I hope you never confuse conviction for guilt or guilt for conviction. I hope you play your cards well and share with others whose hand was not as generous as your own. I hope you cultivate all the fruits of the spirit in the garden of your life, even if there will always be weeds.
I hope that when you are working that first terrible post-graduation job that you will remember you have more than a career, you have a life — and the Lord demands us to live it with talents unburied and surrendered to His purpose.
But most of all, I hope you never forget this place and the unique lessons you learned here. I hope you keep creating intentional community beyond the walls of your dorm room and into this fractured world. And when that feels impossible, I hope you remember that the only way forward is to do the next right thing.