Dear Emma (at your graduation)
Emma - we had some fun putting together your sign - 'From new born to young lady in 19 years'. We fondly remember when you were first born - and today we see you in the beauty of your youth.
I have had the privelage of walking beside you for a good portion of this stretch of the road. - Sometimes you have shared your feelings and your fears with me - sometimes I have been able to understand them and sometimes I haven't. It doesn't matter now - as you have reached 'here' from 'there' - done it well - and I am as proud of you, as a father can be.
Sometimes books are divided up into chapters - life often divides itself into chapters as well - sometimes they end with a period. Sometimes they end with a question mark. This one ends with an exclamation mark of happiness and accomplishment. In all these cases the suspence and the oppurtunity lies in the story the next chapters may tell.
When you were 6 years old I remember holding your hand at the side of your mothers grave, contemplating the 'period' that had been placed at the end of the first wonderful chapter of your life. I remember thinking "Where will life take us from here?". A few more chapters have been written since then - they have been wonderful chapters, both for me, and for you. They have led you to where you are today - and it is the 'you' that you are today that we dearly love you for. - and that we admire you for, and respect you for.
I don't know if you remember it - but I remember talking to you on the phone before you left Canada - you where contemplateing coming home to Sweden again, and you asked me "What will people say it I return now when I have planed on finishing my high school here"? I remember saying that We don't make important descisions on the basis of what those arround us may say or think. But rather on the basis of what we feel in our hearts is the right thing and the best in the situation, as we understand it.
Emma I am proud to have been able to share your thoughts in some of the moral dilemas that you have passed through these last years. There are things in life that are clearly right and beautiful - as well as things that are clearly wrong and lead only to pain. However, life is also full of 'grey zones' - we are foolish to try and make them black and white - but equally foolish to disregard the absolute need we have to navigate with certainty, in the sometimes moral 'fog' of discerning right and wrong in the issues of ordinary daily life.
Emma I am proud of how you have dealt with hills and valleys of the road that has lead you here - As a father, I do have a concern for your future and wish you happiness, and all the very best in the chapters that lay ahead in your experience. I believe that your happiness will not be found so much in the career you may persue, or the wage that you may earn - or even in the personal company that you may involve yourself with - but most of all in the moral values that are developed within you - and in the oppurtunities that life may give you to prove the inner strength within you, and to humbly and meekly remain true to them - even in the face of misunderstanding - even in the face of condemnation of those you may have trusted that loved you. These will be the highlights of the story of your life, when each wonderful chapter of this life of yours, becomes a memory -