Reflection for Graduating Seniors Recognition Ceremony “May We Suggest”
Copyright: Sarah K. Person
Delivered June 1, 2014 to First Unitarian Universalist Society of Middleboro
Years ago, we made a promise to you. You came to us like a blessing, with stardust in your hair and the rush of planets in your blood and eyes shining like the sun itself. We promised you that here, you were valued. Here, you would learn to weigh the meaning of your days, to gather what wisdom we had to offer, to find the beauty in unlikely places, to treasure mercy and justice, to know right from wrong and take the risk to do the right. Now, you are crossing a bridge from us, and that will mean not only looking forward, but also turning back and seeing us from a new perspective, and hopefully loving us anyway. Because we have more years than you – and thus have had to master the art of loving people anyway – we offer you the following advice.
Know this world and this life by trusting yourself. This congregation wanted to tell you the truth as we knew it; and the truth as we know it is yet one more thing you will need to weigh. The truth we raise up will need to be tested by you; colored but not determined by our love for you and yours for us. Choose that which you have received from us that will help you live a worthwhile life; a life of values, self-esteem, conscience and compassion. Let go of the rest.
Come into your own understanding of the life you find. As you enter adulthood, you will gather your own wisdom as you gather experience. Part of that experience will be being wrong and making mistakes. Sometimes that is the only way to understand things. Sometimes you will find that we are wrong, or make mistakes. You will find beauty that completely escapes us. You will find justice that eludes us and mercy where we have none. We trust in you, we rely upon you, to be better that we are.
Expect little but hope for much. The world does not love us, but there is love in the world. This is something you know already, and the knowing may make you both apprehensive and bold. You already know the bad things that can happen, and yet you want to take on the future anyway. We urge you to engage fully with this life. There is joy here. There is richness here; deep and full of the inevitability of grace. There is grace to be found, hidden and serene, in every waking moment of the life before you. This we promise; this we know. Join this journey with us and know that our hearts are with you.
 With thanks to Rev. Jan Nielsen and her Child Dedication Service