I sit with Clint's dad and our friends. I look up at the grandeur, the stain glass windows, the arches, the hugeness of this church. There is beauty and significance everywhere - in the pictures, the tradition and in the ceremony of these moments.
The organ plays and the procession starts. Cameras click. Graduates and those in pews scan the other, looking to glimpse their significant people.
I spot Clint. We hold eyes. A slight smile in the midst of all that's happening...we know all that the last three years have held. In the hard, in the beautiful and with a mass of things learned, both in and out of classrooms, we have come through.
A ceremony. Prayers, scriptures, acknowledgement, the honoring of all the work that has taken place. And I feel its significance, closure starts to sink in.
Both in moments of frustrated tears and the wonder of community, I have not doubted. This is where we were meant to come those three years ago. I am thankful that we discerned and followed.
I am oh-so-thankful...where to begin? All I long to remember...
Those we began with, finished with and all in between. The wine nights, bbqs, weeks straight of hanging out every night (with more of those to come :)). Monitor sitting, porch sitting, sitting by a fire. India night, Australia night, Swiss night. All the Matthew's Christmas extravaganzas. Those who came to see our world...many from afar, all so very dear. Going to New York City, being a train ride from my wonderful friend. Sweet friends who we've just come close with and are hard to leave. Babies that came, babies lost and babies still waited for...and how it has brought us together. Book studies and groups, walks and talks of walking. Birthday parties, grad parties, comp parties and dissertation parties. Playground playing, rain and preschool. People, so many beautiful people that we call friends.
And the work! The hours of work Clint has put in. He dedicated himself to persevere and he has done it well. His knowledge has deepened, yes. And I have seen those roots become growth in passion, humility and love for others and the church. He came to continue the work of loving God with his mind... Now to bring together the loving of God with all his (our) heart, soul and mind.
Yes, ultimately this place, this time has made us more in love with God and more in love with people. I am thankful.