Graduates face accomplishment and fear

Published 12:18 pm Saturday, April 28, 2018

By John Warren

“The only thing we have to fear – is fear itself. . . . ” Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

I am speaking to a group of high school seniors this coming Sunday. I remember many years ago those last days of public school a 12 year journey nearly ending and I looked ahead with a sense of accomplishment and fear.

For me, it had been a long 12 years.

I began the first six years in special education for vision challenges. I talked my parents into moving me into regular classes in the seventh grade when I moved to another school. It was lots of hard work for me.

Most years I made A’s and B’s and graduated 33rd out of 335 students.

There were many classes where I could not read what was on the chalkboard to take notes so I had to rely on borrowing notes.

My life’s dream at the age of five was to become a race car driver, then at the age of seven was to become a car salesman, so I could drive a new car home every day!

By my junior high years, my career dream had morphed into something a little more practical, an architect. I searched the Sunday Houston Chronicle for the Home section and drew my own house plans. My cousin only a year older was going to be an architect and was drawing plans for his parents’ home.

One thing in common with all of these goals was it would take someone with better vision than I.

By the time I reached my senior year and realized that all of my dreams would need someone with better vision, I shifted my goal to commercial art. My counselor helped me apply for state scholarships for the blind and I became declared legally blind and I thought I was on my way.

But Mr. Brown, the head of the art department at San Jacinto College, required me to draw for him objects that he set up in class before he was allow me into his department. Just another hurdle to jump like the challenge of getting class notes.

So as these students face their futures, I think the point I make with them fits us all. See if these don’t ring true with you.

Compare what happens when fear leads and when we live in faith.

Fear weakens, faith strengthens.

Fear sickens and faith heals.

Fear disheartens, faith encourages.

Fear imprisons; faith liberates.

Fear paralyzes but fear empowers.

Live in faith.

John Warren is Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church, 502 North 6th Street in Orange.