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For 2021 graduates: Life’s interruptions

Photo by Shayna Douglas on Unsplash

I’d like to share a story about life’s interruptions with this year’s graduating seniors—who have lived an interrupted life. A few days ago, I was busy splitting firewood. To be clear, a two-ton machine does the hard part. I just maneuver wood rounds beneath the huge maul. I put on my ear-protection headset, pull the starter cord, and get to work.

However, when I started, I didn’t notice the robin sitting on a nearby tree limb. I just kept splitting and throwing firewood over my shoulder into the adjacent woodshed. Then the robin flew in an arc just in front of me. I watched it return to the limb. I didn’t get the message until the bird did it three more times.

I stopped the machine and removed my headphones. The robin was chirping excitedly. I decided to stack the wood I’d tossed in the shed. More intense chirping. Then I finally noticed her nest. It was above my head, tucked into a safe place in the shed (or so she thought). I climbed on some firewood to peek inside. Three small eggs nestled perfectly and one frantic mama bird perched nearby.

Now what? Do I quit so mama robin can nest quietly and bring three birds into the world, or do I forge ahead and finish what I want to do, taking a chance that the robin will abandon her eggs? On a scale of interruptions, this is as small as those blue eggs.

But you, Seniors, faced much larger interruptions and setbacks on your way to getting your diploma. There were probably days you felt the weight of those setbacks, yet before you even received your diploma, you were asked to make plans for what’s next. Life is all about our plans, moving forward, and then getting it done.

Yes, we make our plans, just like I planned on splitting the firewood, then sometimes we are interrupted. Delays happen for a reason.

I looked at the frantic mama robin. I looked over at the monumental pile of wood that needed to be split. Would a slight delay really matter to me when I knew it mattered everything to her? After those baby birds leave the nest, I’ll get back to my woodpile.

So graduates, if you face some delays in your plans, take it as an opportunity to examine what’s happening around you. Sometimes delays are actually opportunities in disguise....if you hadn’t been interrupted maybe you wouldn’t have noticed something important. A delay could mean meeting someone, taking a different job, or just slowing down long enough to look around and appreciate where you are.

You’re part of the esteemed group of COVID graduates. This reveals that you’ve dealt with delays and disappointments, but you made it—and because of the delays maybe you’ve seen more than you would have in the classroom, learned better coping skills, and are even better prepared for life than we all realize.

If you haven’t memorized many Bible verses, I have one you need to put on a notecard, or on your phone in a place where you can see it every day. Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose" (NET).

You have made it through COVID closures and graduated—that is part of "all things." As you continue on, there will be other hard things that happen that will be part of "all things." Sometimes the "all things" can be delays and setbacks. But look at the promise that follows: God will use it for our good if we love him.

Seniors, being "called according to his purpose" is about living life God’s way. We have the owners manual, the Bible, and we can ask for wisdom and it will be given to us generously (James 1:5). We are all here by God’s sovereign plan and we each have our own influence, talents, and time—even on those days with delays.

May you use your time wisely, and invest in the only thing that lasts eternally—the people around you. Some will appreciate your faith, others will not, but you will have served as a light in this darkening world. Go forth, be equipped with the Word, be covered in prayer, and mighty in faith. This is your time to shine. And finally, in your ever-changing life, in this ever-changing world, you can stand firmly on a foundation of our never-changing God—even when you get interrupted.

Karen Farris saw the need to help underserved kids while serving in a youth ministry that gave her the opportunity to visit rural schools on the Olympic Peninsula. She now volunteers her time grant writing to bring resources to kids in need. She also shares stories of faith in action for those needing a dose of hope on her weekly blog, Friday

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