At this time of year, in the United States, many of us are involved in school graduation ceremonies and the festivities that accompany them. This time of year is also the season for big transitions and changes – people getting married, moving, retiring, starting a new job, entering a new phase of life or a “new normal.” The concept of “graduation” is that of a person moving from one phase of life to the next.
Spiritually speaking, we’re all involved in this process, even when our lives don’t appear to have any obvious “markers.” The Scriptures compare these transitions to walking through a gateway or door. The Lord says, “I have set before you an open door... no one can shut it.” This “open door” represents the opportunities the Lord gives us each day to think like an angel, to remember that it’s not about “us” but other people (the source of angelic happiness rests in this mindset). It would be a strange and uninspiring graduation speech if the keynote speaker promoted self-gratification as the end-in-view rather than helping society and bettering it. Graduation speeches are inspiring and uplifting because they focus on the hopes and dreams of the students who are at the threshold of new beginnings, new opportunities, a chance to make a difference in the lives of other people. No one can “shut” the Lord’s open door because it is the gateway that leads to our eternal peace and happiness, and our freedom to choose that path will never be blocked or compromised.
Each person’s journey is different which is why there are twelve gates into the Holy City (heaven). We of course lose sight of that open door at times because the forces of evil in and around us want us to get stuck in our suffering, setbacks, disappointment and frustration, but life blossoms with purpose, meaning and satisfaction once we turn our gaze outward again. In this season of new beginnings, of “graduating” from one stage of life to the next, let us rejoice in the opportunities before us to lend a helping hand to our loved ones, friends and neighbors for this is where our eternal happiness resides.