Tonight is graduation for most of the high schools in our area. It’s a big deal everywhere but nowhere is it as big of deal as in Hawaii.
Traffic snarls around graduation time as lei and balloon encumbered parents, relatives and friends jockey for parking spaces and then make their way to the local football fields for the ceremony.
Those fortunate enough to have scored a ticket get to hang out in the bleachers for the proceedings while outside the fence the crowd of well wishers swells waiting for the security to allow them on to the field.
By the end of the evening every graduate will be smothered in leis, often stacked so high that they can barely see.
It is the big event that every family member celebrates. Well, almost every family member.
For some in those silly square hats and thin rayon gowns this night will be laced with a particular kind of sting.
Doing a quick scan of Facebook this morning I noted this post from a young lady, a graduate who comes to our youth group:
My stomach turned and my heart grew heavy. It was a simple post, but her pain was palpable. And sadly, many of us, myself included, can understand it, have felt it and still remember it.
A lot of us had a parent go AWOL for some of the most important celebrations of life. And of all the things that cut and wound, the indifference and unloving selfishness of a parent cuts the deepest.
There is no remedy for this kind of wound but the eventual scar that many of us carry can be a powerful reminder for us to be a different kind of father or mother when we have a family.
So tonight, at graduation we will go to celebrate with some extra leis for this young woman. Our family of faith will gather around her and do spiritual and emotional triage. We will let her know that she is loved, cared for and supported. We will be her fans, her cheering section and her family.
It won’t be enough, but I know it will help.