When I first arrived on Mercer Island 14 years ago, I was invited by the local clergy association to give the sermon at the community Thanksgiving service. Since poetry is so much a part of my life and ministry, I chose to write my homily in rhyme. With inspiration from Dr. Seuss I titled my thoughts “Don’t Let the Grinch Steal Thanksgiving.” People are still commenting about that all these years later.
As I contemplated what message I might offer to our local graduates, another poem seemed to be what the doctor ordered. So, with apologies to Dr. Seuss, here is my version of “Oh the Places You Will Go”:
Oh, the Places You Will Go
(A graduation poem with apologies to Dr. Seuss.)
By the Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos
The world’s your oyster. The world’s your stage.
Your time has come. You’ve reached the age.
The Lord will guide you. So, trust his plans.
Just say, “Your wish is my command.”
Look in your heart. What brings delight?
Embrace your gift. Turn on the light.
God made you just the way you are.
So go with that and you’ll go far.
But far begins with one small step.
So lace your shoes and then expect
to run your race at your own speed.
Don’t fret about who’s in the lead.
This thing called life’s a marathon.
It’s not a sprint. So, carry on!
Along the way, you’ll trip and fall.
You’ll bruise your knees and that’s not all.
Your pride will smart, but that’s okay.
That’s how you learn to make your way.
So, each new day look in the mirror.
Confront yourself and what you fear.
Look deep inside at what you see.
Reflect on who you long to be.
Don’t overlook what you don’t like.
Tell bents you hate to take a hike.
Be honest with the one you face
embracing God’s amazing grace.
It covers all you dare confess
and undermines perfection’s stress.
Be sure to give yourself a smile.
It’s good to celebrate each mile.
Along the path that you will go,
who cares if you go fast or slow.
The speed that marks your upward climb
means not so much so never mind.
The trek you take is most unique
So, too, the plans you aim to seek.
Dream big. Imagine. Go for broke.
While some may laugh, it is no joke.
Remind yourself God’s in control
and He will help you reach your goals.
You will achieve more than you know.
The many places you will go
cannot be seen from where you sit.
You have to move out bit by bit.
Make every day your chance to start
to live your dream and own your part
in what the good Lord longs to bless
including you and your success.
What matters most is making time
to pace yourself and read the signs
of where to go and what to do.
The future does depend on you.
Greg Asimakoupoulos is the chaplain at Covenant Shores Retirement Community.