Graduation Day


It’s amazing how much you forget. Chandler is eighteen years old and about to walk across a lawn and receive a high school diploma. I’m trying to remember when he was 3, and 4, and 5, and 6…. These are whole years gone by so rapidly as to leave only a blur in my memory. What did we do? I know we spent a lot of time together during those years. Those are some of the best years for parenting, especially for Dads. Dads haven’t gotten to be dorky yet. I must have taught him how to ride a bicycle. I don’t remember his first time up on his own (it didn’t take long, I’m sure; he’s so coordinated), but I can remember hours of riding behind him watching him zip and whiz all over town — his helmet bobbing up and down, side to side, through back alleys, dirt roads, and roads I didn’t even know were there.

His big sister got him into the water (threw him in, actually). His big brother and sister taught him how to surf. He taught himself how to skateboard. There were trips to the hospital, and for one I stayed overnight in his hospital room with him, listening to machines beeping and whirring with my mind replaying how he could have gotten hit on his bike, and where was I?

There was camping in the back yard, and camping at camps. Boat trips to Catalina. Road trips to the Grand Canyon, and Joshua Tree National Park. Fishing trips. Indian Guide trips. We slept on an aircraft carrier; we slept on the center field grass at Angels Stadium.

And then somewhere in there it became no longer cool to be with Dad. That’s okay. I knew my time would be fading rapidly, and others would take my place — my role becoming less and less about time together, more and more about time to provide what he would need to get through school.

Then there was the trauma of sending him away, and the mutual work of bringing him back, and the reality of finding out what we learned and what we still need to learn, but haven’t yet.

But when I see him this evening reaching out his hand to receive the rewards of his efforts and persistence, will I see any of this? No, I can’t possibly do that. I will just see a very good-looking young man heading into the world with his own insights, his own philosophy, his own faith, his own reasoning, his own plans, and his own sense of what it is he is here to do. And believe me, Chandler gets all the credit; and God gets all the praise. (And all of you get thanks for your prayers, and by the way, don’t stop!)

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7 Responses to Graduation Day

  1. gregg says:

    So reminds me of my oldest. We did our best. That’s what we could do.

  2. Mark D Seguin says:

    🙂 ❤

  3. As I read this, Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” is playing:

    “Half of the time we’re gone but we don’t know where,
    And we don’t know here.
    I know you’ve been eager to fly now.
    Hey let your honesty shine, shine, shine
    Like it shines on me…”

    Today’s post got me to reflecting on when I first started reading The Catch which, at the time (some 14 or 15 years ago), was called the “Fischtank”, authored by John as a daily offering on behalf of The Purpose Driven Life folks.
    (I’ve retained and re-read many of those old devotionals to this day!)

    Wow, has it really been 14+ years now?
    Chandler would have been around 4 then, I would have been in my 40’s.
    It’s amazing how swift time has passed by.
    While it’s not a new concept, it is still a good reminder of how precious each and every singe day is, and how we must endeavor to treasure the remaining hours God has granted us on this planet.
    It’s so vital for us to (to quote Billy Preston) “…love the one you’re with”…

    • jwfisch says:

      Wow. Has it been that long? So glad to have shared it with you!

      • Thank you, John, same here!
        Back in the day…
        Two of your earlier messages that convinced me that this is some guy worth tagging along with were about how Europeans responded to modern Christian music with little or no concern as to segregating Christian from ‘secular” or one genre from the other. In other words, if the music sounds good then, well, it’s good music!
        The other message was about “The Girl From Ipanema”: a woman you had observed that was lovely and graceful and beautiful to look at, but not necessarily in a sensually desirous way. You expressed how pleasant it was to appreciate her beauty as one would appreciate the handiwork of any of God’s creation: panoramic vista’s, butterflies, the night sky, sunrises, and so on. There was nothing wrong in admiring another persons outward loveliness. After all, God loves to look at His creation, too!

        Pretty radical stuff back then for those mainstream evangelicals (like me) who were and are intent on closing themselves off from connections with others who don’t think, act, look, behave, or believe exactly like they did or do.
        Your unique perspectives and different approaches have enabled me to see a much bigger picture and a more beautiful future than I might have otherwise witnessed or discovered.
        I am looking forward to “tagging along” with you for the next 15-years.
        As Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear would say, “To infinity and beyond!”

        Shalom, my friend…

  4. Carole Oglesbee says:

    Just THINK, John. As proud as you are of Chandler and (go on – admit it…) of the role you had in helping get here, there is One Dad who is overjoyed with the both of you… and let’s not forget also with Mom and Chandler’s siblings…But He always knew y’all’d make it. I can hardly wait for the next chapter!

  5. Kellie says:

    Praise God for this day!

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