It was Suzanne’s college graduation party. Family friends and relatives, schoolmates and old teachers all sipped punch and ate raspberry cake under the willow trees beside the gazebo at the creek. She had played there as a child – fishing for catfish and catching turtles and garter snakes. Memories raced across the green hillside and peeped out from behind the apple trees in the orchard.
I listened as our friends wished her success as a writer, fame as a lyricist, fortune in her chosen work, and honor in grad school. What would we wish her, Bill and I later asked as we sat in the yard swing apart from the others. It wouldn’t be wealth, we decided, or notoriety. And success would be awfully hard to define. What we would wish her would be some grand times and some hard times, some wins and some losses, some sunshine and some rain. We would wish her growth…and vision…and the ability to feel what others feel who are hurt or left out or lonely.
As we had done so many times before, we found ourselves drawn that night to the passage of scripture that has been read probably more often in our home than any other, for it stated so well what we wished then for Suzanne and for all our children as they face life’s shifts and changes.
May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience that love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself. (Eph. 3:17b-19 NLB)
From this graduation experience came the song “I Wish You”. Soon we will watch a new class of graduates walk down the aisle to get their diplomas. One of those graduates will be our beautiful granddaughter, Madeleine. And this will be our wish for her as it was for her mother and her Aunt Suzanne her Uncle Benjy and for her brother Lee, and cousins Will and Jesse who have come before her.
I wish you some springtime
Some “bird on the wing time”
For blooming and sending out shoots;
I wish you some test time,
Some winter and rest time
For growing and putting down roots.
I wish you some summer
For you’re a becomer
With blue skies and flowers and dew;
For there is a reason
God sends every season;
He’s planted His image in you.
I wish you some laughter,
Some “happy thereafter”
To give you a frame for your dreams;
But I wish you some sorrows,
Some rainy tomorrows,
Some clouds with some sun in between.
I wish you some crosses,
I wish you some losses,
For only in losing you win;
I wish you some growing,
I wish you some knowing,
There’s always a place to begin.
We’d like to collect you
And shield and protect you
And save you from hurts if we could;
But we must let you grow tall,
To learn and to know all
That God has in mind for your good.
We never could own you,
For God only loaned you
To widen our world and our hearts.
So, we wish you His freedom,
Knowing where He is leading,
There is nothing can tear us apart.
William J. Gaither and Gloria Gaither
© 1977 Hanna Street Music (BMI). All rights reserved.