Yesterday, I got a graduation announcement for a friend’s daughter and it sparked a memory. This is a sign I’m getting old, right?
- My own high school graduation was unremarkable. I don’t remember much about it. I remember it happened very quickly and my parents and brother were there. I think my friend Navid spoke about Star Wars or something like that.
- By the time graduation arrived I’d already moved out of my dad’s house and was in a dorm at Moody working a full-time job to help me pay for my first year of school. I didn’t attend the last couple weeks of school. (I only had to pass gym to graduate my senior year. Interestingly, my teachers all gave me A’s the last semester. I did better when I didn’t bother to show up!)
- Starting in May, it was all just a blur of prom and graduation parties.
But I do have a specific memory from my senior year of high school that literally still has impact today.
During the Spring of my senior year all of the graduating seniors got a form from the school newspaper asking us about our future plans. Specifically, they wanted to know what university we were going to, what our major would be, and what we hoped to do.
Most of my friends only had a vague idea of what they might do. But I had a very specific goal in mind. It took me about 45 seconds to fill out the form. Many of my friends had two out of three figured out… but the future? They had no idea. I guess I was fortunate in my clarity.
As a 17 year old I wrote that I would be attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois to major in Youth Ministry. My future plans included becoming a youth pastor and ministering to teenagers.
That was my dream. I was going to pursue it with everything I had. My parents wanted to help me through school, but their lives were falling apart with matching divorces, and they could make no promises. (They were behind me, supportive, and proud of me. That’s really all that mattered to me.) My friends kind of got it but kind of wished I’d be with them at Purdue or Indiana.
It was my dream. And I was going to make it happen. My dream was only going to come true if I worked really, really hard to earn enough money to make it happen.
18 years later I’m sitting here reflecting back on that. I’m still pursuing the same dream. I graduated from that school. I’m still in youth ministry. I wonder how many of my fellow Class of 1994 graduates can say the same thing?
I’m still pursuing that dream because it’s my dream and it’s worth pursuing.
That’s the thing about dreams. No one can tell you that your dream is worth pursuing but you. It has to come from inside of you.