A bird built a nest near our house. We often disturbed the mother bird, and she would squawk and fly away. But we knew that this would be fleeting. In a matter of weeks, the baby birds would spread their wings and fly away. Children take longer to leave the nest, yet eighteen years fly by us so quickly. There are times when years seem like weeks.
I don’t know whether birds have fears, hopes, pride, regrets as baby birds take wing, but humans do. Time marches by relentlessly. The pressures of work and paying the bills take their toll on every parent, even when we value family. Regrets of things you didn’t do occur even when there is a storehouse of good memories, because you know things will never be the way they were when they spread their wings and fly.
Parents are like the scaffolding around a building during construction. The scaffolding is the external brace during the instability of the construction phase. But it’s not intended as a permanent part of the plans.
When the external brace is removed, what will happen? Your parents won’t necessarily be around to get you up for class, work or church. You will decide your level of involvement in the church. You will decide more than ever before who your friends will be and who you will date. Faith is not inherited (Matthew 3:7-10). You will not spiritually survive on your parents’ faith. This will be a critical time for you. You must move beyond “what you believe” to “why you believe.” Your decisions will decide your direction. We must “commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32, NIV).
Graduation is also an exciting time in your life—a time of transition. The end of Ecclesiastes has words for the young.
Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment. (Ecclesiastes 11:9b, NIV)
Certainly, Ecclesiastes is not encouraging an unrestrained following of the heart. The admonition occurs within the context of following God’s morality because of His judgment. But this piece of wisdom recognizes it is when we are young that all of life is before you. Within the context of following God, the encouragement is to follow your heart—to follow your dreams. Congratulations on your graduation. Spread your wings and fly!