Our youngest daughter, Debbie, graduated from college this past weekend.
My dear, detailed husband calculated that we’ve spent the past 17 years putting children through college. Six children, six degrees. Six official adults.
It’s incredible to look back on something that appeared so insurmountable at one point and is now done. Debbie was five when her oldest sister, Heather, began college. We weren’t thinking the long haul at that time. We just wondered how we’d pay for next semester. And the next.
So hearing her full name–Deborah Grace Rogers–announced over a loudspeaker (I’ve typically only used that on medical forms and when I was really angry with her) and watching her walk across the stage to receive her diploma, I was overcome by the enormity of the moment. For Deb, as she begins a new season of life. For us, as we as we officially enter the phase of all adult children.
It changes a lot of things.
One friend jokingly asked what we’d do with all our extra money, now that we won’t be paying for tuition and board.
Weddings, grandkids, stocking stuffers and Easter baskets. Money has wings.
What was no surprise was that some things don’t ever change. We rented a big SUV to bring Deb and her things back home. She’d told us she didn’t have much.
She spoke in hyperbole. A U-Haul would have been easier.
She packed mostly in large leaf bags because they could squish. Things were tucked into corners and wedged in so tightly the car looked like it would explode.
College didn’t transform her into a neat freak, nor did it compel her to grow in her organizational skills.
It did, however, allow her to develop some extraordinary interpersonal skills and sharpened her ability to live and work with a variety of interesting (read “challenging”) people.
She grew up.
She’s not done with that part of life. (Are any of us truly grown up and mature?) But she’s become a little more able to handle the challenges of life with thoughtfulness and heart.
Now comes the total owning of responsibility piece. (Read “job”.)
Next phase. New beginning. That’s exactly where Deb is.
It’s where I am many days.
My changes don’t look so monumental, but they still come. And it can be tiring. It’s easy to be discouraged by the fact that life changes constantly and requires new things from me just as constantly.
David, in the Psalms, expressed his feelings about life change and challenge.
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” Psalm 40:1-2
I’ll always be in a cycle of finishing and beginning–this side of heaven. I don’t go through it alone. I have Someone who walks with me, who keeps my feet planted firmly, facing me in the right direction.
Waiting on God gives me perspective and hope.
No matter what season I’m in.
No diploma needed.
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