Tonight, Eric James Jordan (our youngest) will graduate from GRACE Christian School. Friends and family are coming to celebrate with him.
But next Fall, Maggie and I will be empty nesters with both kids in college. It’ll seem strange. At times like this, I like to look back into the past to see what truths I can see about the future.
If you know Eric, you know he is a kind-hearted, easy-going spirit with a quick laugh. When he was born, Maggie wanted to name him Isaac, which means “laughter.” I pushed for Eric, which means “strength.” I think we should have gone with both.
Eric loves music and has strong gifts and talents when it comes to hearing and playing music. He has taken formal lessons for piano and drums, and he is self-taught on guitar, bass, trombone, and ukulele. I wish I had half his talent or his ear.
That ear also translates languages easily. As a child, he studied Latin. In junior high, he studied Spanish. Then he chose to focus on French in high school in order to be better able to reach people in Africa who needed water. One of the highlights of his high school career was spending the summer in an immersion program in France last year.
Other highlights came from his swim career. He has always been a strong swimmer but struggled the past two seasons after a shoulder injury. However, his team won the State Championship this year, and he was very happy to have contributed to a championship team as a senior.
He also immersed himself in the IT helpdesk at school. This helped provide a base for his intended major in Computer Science at Appalachian State University next Fall.
Looking back further, I remember when Eric was born. That was a major life shift for us because his older sister was only 13 months old at the time. Like her, his first word was “Light.”
As a toddler, his care for others was immediately obvious. I recall being shocked at how specifically he prayed intercessory prayers for adults when he had just barely learned to talk. Looking back, it is still quite amazing. This wasn’t toddler babble, this was clearly the Holy Spirit.
Eric would climb anything. He was this amazingly strong and blocky little thing. One time before he could even walk, he climbed our entertainment center and then swung over, grabbed the mantle to the fireplace, and then handwalked himself out to the middle of the fireplace. We came around the corner to see him suspended from the mantle and rushed over to grab him. If you hear me call him “monkey,” now you will know why, even though it doesn’t seem to make any sense now.
Later, when he was about 4 or 5, Maggie found him sitting on the balcony overlooking our foyer. She carefully got him to safety. He was nonplussed and explained that he was Spiderman, so he wouldn’t be hurt if he fell.
Still later, he loved climbing and hiking mountains. Give the young man a trail, and he’s going to be happy. Fortunately, our entire family loves hiking trips. We’ll be celebrating his graduation this summer by taking a 2-week hiking trip in the Canadian Rockies.
One other thing you can count on is that he will prefer to wear shorts, no matter how cold. To be fair, as tall as he is, almost everything looks like shorts on him.
As much as he loves shorts, he loves sausage pizza more. It is from this love that we have learned another great life lesson: Any pizza is a personal pizza if you just believe. And believe, he does. His love of sausage pizza should be legendary.
And as much as he loves sausage pizza, he loves his fur-buddy Jax even more. Jax and Eric have been together now for almost 14 years.
Aa young child, Eric was very tactile. He had to touch everything and learned best by physically manipulating objects. We home schooled him until 8th grade, when he began attending GRACE. He is an intelligent young man but sometimes chafes under the left-brain orientation of education. He has studied himself and ADHD to try to find ways to contribute meaningful change to the system.
We have, of course, had our share of disagreements. He doesn’t want to disappoint us, but he also wants to do things his way. Those competing drives can put him in a bit of a quandary at times. I am proud of him for how he tries to navigate those waters.
Eric, please always know Mom and I love you with all our hearts and are proud of you. You are a terrific young man with a strong sense of character, and we look forward to seeing you walk the path ahead. Keep your heart and eyes fixed on Christ.
As we say at the end of every church service, you are sent.