A fine weekend.
The dark clouds rolling overhead held back from dumping the moisture they held, though just to the west those same clouds had been unrelenting in their assault.
United States Senator Johnny Isakson spoke at the UGA graduation ceremony this weekend, and it was as compelling a speech as I’ve ever heard.
I woke up the next morning recalling his six silent secrets to living a happy and fulfilling life: learning, respect, ethics, love, faith, and dreaming. He referenced that rule we call golden in dealing with others, and I had to wonder how the world might change if those 4,000 graduates seated between the hedges or the 30,000 of us looking on in Sanford Stadium really took those words to heart.
When the conferral of degrees took place, I watched as my son stood with the Warnell School of Forestry alongside the rest of those twenty or so, young men and women who would superintend the care of our forests, fisheries, wildlife, and other natural resources in the decades ahead. Among such a multitude of graduates, there were so few of them.
So few to take care of this great wide world of ours. Yet, I knew their passion was unmatched. I’d heard one of their representatives, Trevor, speak at an earlier ceremony, and he quoted several scriptures, one of which was Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I sensed that his faith was strong, and that he was not depending on himself for such a huge task, but on a great God who shapes our tomorrows.
If I had any doubts about who was looking after the future of the red cockaded woodpecker or who would care about the decline of the hemlocks due to the hemlock woolly adelgid, I was encouraged to know that God had it covered. These young men and women were up for the job, so that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren wouldn’t grow up in an ecologically impoverished world consisting of only of carp, crows, and Chinese privet.
I remembered the song my children and I used to sing in the minivan as we taxied from soccer to ballet: “He’s got the whole world in his hands . . . “ I didn’t realize that one day, it’d be that little boy singing in the back seat who’d be among the few God would choose to help watch over His creation.
Yes, it was a fine weekend. God gave me reassurance of a “hope and a future,” and if you're wondering if He has the whole world in his hands, He does, indeed.