I graduated from college in three years. I was twenty years old when I got my diploma. I never went to crazy parties, never had a fake ID, never ran from the cops.
I studied, worked in a library, and graduated one tenth of a point away from summa cum laude.
I also had no life.
So there’s that.
Now, in May, I’m going to be the commencement speaker at that same college, Concordia University Wisconsin. I’m going to stand up in front of a whole bunch of twenty-somethings who aren’t really interested in what I have to say anyway and try to impart some kind of wisdom in more than eight minutes but less than ten.
And while I don’t know yet exactly what I’m going to say, here’s the gist: Be Lutheran. Work hard. Show interest. Explore everything. Get married. Have babies. Take joy.
And don’t be lazy. Because that annoys me.
Or breathe with a nose whistle.
Or wear pants that sag off your bum.
Because there’s no building tall enough for me to get away from that.
Here’s the thing: The Lord is going to use those kids in whatever they do, whether it’s editing a magazine or having twins. He will, and He will use them for good, even when it doesn’t seem like it.
I can’t tell them they can be anything they want to be because they can’t. (I wanted to be a jockey when I was ten. Turns out I stink at riding horses and am half a foot too tall. See? Can’t have it all, people. Can’t.Have.It.All.) And even if I did, that would be no comfort at all.
The comfort to the troubled twenty-something’s heart, his angst, his worries about the future, even to his excitement and his joy, is that the Lord has a good plan, a good purpose for each life. His ways aren’t the ways of a frat boy, nor are His thoughts collegiate thoughts. But His plan is good, and it is real.
That’s all I can say to them that’s of value: The Lord is good, no matter what. Careers, futures, hopes, dreams, Dr. Seuss’s and all the places you can go . . . all of it pales in comparison to this: our Lord loves these kids in Christ.
That’s all. Now I just have to find a way to take ten minutes to say it.