Yesterday we went to a graduation ceremony for a couple of boys, Dean from our church and Tanner from a neighboring church (and these two churches work so much together in friendship that many times the idea of blending them has been suggested). So people from both churches crammed into one, and after much fellowship the events started. The boys are incredibly musical, and they played their guitars for a good while at the beginning. Tanner is the son of the pastor of the other church, and so his father spoke at length. Then the Tanner spoke at length. Then Dean's father spoke a good deal too. Interspersed among these were songs the boys had composed at different times in their lives--good songs, too, and they sang them for us, playing their instruments. One switched to a French horn for one song. They each probably play a great number of instruments; they are very gifted in that regard.
There was a series of photos, too, and since the boys' lives were so intertwined in friendship, they combined the two boys' photos into one slide show. It was amazing all the common points of interest that the boys have: Their musical talent; they were both homeschooled; they hunt together, play paintball or airsoft together (I don't know enough to know which); they love animals, including horses they have owned; they come from fairly big families; they've both been raised out in a country setting. They are as close as brothers, it would seem, understanding so much about each other and relating so well.
The best, most meaningful thing they share is their faith, and it was brought out passionately in the speeches, in the songs that they wrote and played, in every aspect of the graduation ceremony. They weren't done after the slide show, either. Then Dean spoke, and then our Pastor Ken. We all sang a couple of songs, the boys received their diplomas, pictures were taken and the ceremony was finished. Of course, I don't give enough details regarding their speeches to fully illustrate, and that (especially having two pastors at hand) would take a good deal of sharing; but they were all wonderfully done, articulate and masterful. It was a beautiful ceremony.
I couldn't help but look back at our own graduation ceremony that we had for Katie a couple of years ago. I am not articulate on my feet. I wouldn't exactly say that Gary is either. In fact, since I don't remember us having seen another homeschool graduation of this type especially like the one last night, we didn't even think to put together any speeches, and we spoke off-the-cuff. I'd often regretted, after having 12 years to prepare in a way, not having done preparation for that aspect of the graduation; God could have been shown off in so many things that He brought us through during those years, for so many ways He provided for us, for all that He taught us, that in spite of many things against us, thanks to His provision we succeeded in homeschooling all through it. In spite of our lack of preparation in making any such speeches or taking that opportunity to glorify Him as well as we should have done, God is gracious. Katie is finished with high school however we accomplished it, and she has been working successfully through her college time, getting good grades, making many meaningful relationships, growing and learning in faith and in other regards, and having a memorable, enjoyable time for the most part.
It was an enriching, beautiful time last night, even though it brought me to cringe again at my own inadequacy. Even in that regard, though, it again gives me reason to also rejoice at God's grace (2 Cor. 12:9-10) that when I have come up wanting, has continually set my feet upon a rock because of His power, and not mine. Every mention of their faith was something I could relate to and rejoice in for themselves and at the same time for ourselves. I think that is the beauty of fellowship and the family of believers. When we rejoice, we all have so much reason to rejoice together; any lack on our own part, unless it is our own lack of faith, shows God off for who He is, altogether loving and gracious, and able to provide for our inadequacy and make all things work together for good for those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). I am very thankful for these boys in so many ways, being so well equipped for life in so many regards, and for their friendship together, for their close family relationships, for their careful upbringing and education, but most of all for their strong faith that will help them through everything in their lives.