Debra Whittington: Graduation brings on a feeling of nostalgia

By Debra Whittington

Religion Columnist

“Shew me thy ways, O LORD, teach me thy paths”. Psalm 25:4
Every year around this time of year I get a bit nostalgic as I think back on my high school graduation. This year marks the 40th anniversary of that night when I had the entire world ahead of me. I had plans for my life without consulting God if it was the right path.

I know the college I chose was the right one as it was there I met the love of my life. Just this week we celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary. God put us in just the right place at the right time to meet each other and fall in love. Although everything we planned for our life together never occurred, we grew together and closer to God. While we don’t have the material things, we have what is most valuable in the eyes of God.

This morning, I was visiting with a young lady who is finishing her junior year of high school. She told me that while she was anxious for her upcoming senior year, she was also unsure of what was ahead. I tried to encourage her to enjoy every minute of her last year of high school because once it is over, her life will change forever.

If we could go back and re-live those days, would we? How would we change the course of our life? Praise God that can’t happen because although I would want to make my life better, He worked it out for me. As Romans 8:28 says, “…All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose”. God takes the ingredients of our lives and blends them into a wonderful creation.

I decided to take time to look back at some of the things God inspired people to create in my own lifetime and how some of them changed the way I live. During the year I was born, bubble wrap and individual sugar packets were invented. How different my life might have been if I didn’t have bubble wrap to not only wrap with, but to pop.

During high school, I decided I was going to study to become a secretary. A good portion of the machines aren’t even used anymore and I never hear of someone taking shorthand. My favorite machine was the mimeograph even though great care was taken when typing the stencil. If you made a mistake you couldn’t hit the delete key. Instead you took a fine exacto knife to cut out your mistake. You could still tell there was a mistake so you typed slow and exact.

Once the papers were run off on the mimeograph, I loved to sniff the ink. Those of us who are older will know what I mean. Every time you got one of these papers, you had to sniff it first even though you knew it probably meant you were about to take a test.

A copy machine was reserved for more important papers and was expensive to operate. I can remember paying as much as a dollar a copy for a microfilm copier. Instead of copying pages I needed out of old newspapers, I took a notebook and pen and carefully copied what I needed later.

I am sure each of us who have lived a number of years remember stories like these and many more. Remember the first computer you saw. Did it intimidate you?

While I made my share of mistakes in high school and didn’t apply myself to my studies as I should, (I still don’t understand the importance of Algebra), God used these experiences as a building block for the rest of my life. Romans 11:33 (NLT) states it so well, “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!”

In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul talks about the grace of God and the renewal of the inward man day by day. Verse 18 tells we see the things which are temporary, but not those things which are eternal. While it is good to look back, let’s never lose sight of those things that count the most, those things that are eternal.

Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at:

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