This week I went to my son’s high school graduation. After 14 years of education, he can put the certificate in its folder (not right away I hope) for safe keeping, and move forward.
It was an efficient and memorable ceremony. I watched as son and friends passed through a pivotal moment, a landmark rite of passage, a time when there is only forward, no looking back. Fond memories yes but life moves on….
As for me there was another very personal, surprising moment. It didn’t involve my son at all, at least not directly. And unless he reads this blog post he’s unlikely ever to know about it.
I was sitting in the crowded hall, focused on the stage. There were a few empty seats scattered about the room, but not many I think. There was one next to me.
As it happened, no one had sat next to me. And then, just as the ceremony was starting, just as the head-of-year teacher began to introduce the next hour, I realised: the seat was an Elijah seat so-to-speak, though not literally and certainly not so profoundly. Tender though. For I realised the seat was for my Alan, my son’s father, who is now in heavenly places amongst the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1).
GOD showed up in that moment before the graduation commenced. He’s so loving, so thoughtful and so tender — He had kept a seat empty for me — for Alan. That I could put my hand on the seat and think, ‘Yes, this seat is reserved for the man who will not appear, but would have been so very proud of our son’.
I’m not weeping now. Nor did I weep then. I just sensed a profound love from GOD, my Father in Heaven, who reserved a seat for the father that would have been so delighted at the achievement of his son.
And so am I.
Let’s treasure our special moments, the moments that are fleeting and then they are gone. There are photos and memories. But the special sense of fulfilment that GOD provides is the most precious of experiences that comes with such landmark moments.