So Long, Farewell...

One of my favorite pictures of all-time.
A student's tribute to the people in his life
during college. My name (alpha-listing) is first.
I came onto campus and nearly overlooked that I didn't have to pass row after row of parked cars. I drove to the front and casually pulled in, as if it was my own reserved space. As I walked through the normally packed student center, I counted 2 people lounging and a sea of open couches and tables. How many days have I waited and waited for a table to open up but now I could have had my choice of seats. When I ordinarily had to navigate my way through crowded halls and trip over bodies moving in swarms, I now didn't pass a single person on my long walk through the building. The bustling has subsided. It's the calm before the storm because today's desolate campus is almost a facade compared to the 34,000 people expected to swarm the university tomorrow.

The truth is despite the barrenness and absence of people, there's still an excitement in the air. It feels like Christmas Eve, although my ode to "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" may be more appropriately sung on Monday when campus is EMPTY and I'll belt my rendition of "School's out for the summer"!

I've been given the awesome privilege of playing a part in investing in many of these college graduates during their tenure here. Each year the freshmen class comes in wide-eyed and excited. And each year the senior class goes out with a different kind of wide-eyed excitement as they enter the great big world of reality they've worked so hard to prepare for. I feel like a proud mama having helped some of these lives change their major, develop their skills through internships and jobs, make life-changing decisions that would alter their course, and take steps toward their futures, careers and God's will for them as they sought counsel and advice sitting in my office, over lunch or through a workshop or presentation.

It's bittersweet for me knowing this was the goal all along. Seeing their dreams come to fruition, helping them discover their potential and cultivating that as they pursue who God has created them to be. Somehow along the journey I built relationships and managed friendships as I prepared them to go, despite the fact that I remain.

This is not my job. This is part of my calling. From the time I was a little girl, I've felt emotionally responsible for the well-being of others. But through each relationship, through each student, as I continue to pour my own life into the lives of others, what I've come to learn about myself is the ability to see something in another and work to draw it out and develop it. This is what was done for me. People put into my life who saw the potential for leadership and pushed me to develop that. Someone who recognized an ability to care and counsel and sought to help me discover it, too. Another who poured into me the importance of stopping in the moment to pause, pray or simply listen to whatever need was at hand. And now it is what I see to do in others.

To the Class 2012 I say congratulations! Your hard work doesn't come to an end; rather what you've invested the past few years learning and developing in yourself will now be the launching pad for the future God has planned for you. We've been on this journey together, many of us, and while I remain behind just know I am cheering you on as you go. See, what God planned for me to do some 11 years ago was to walk across the same stage and get a degree from the same university where He'd plant me and give me roots. Those roots run deep, drawing from Him as my source so that I might be able to further see the seeds not just planted but also scattered, watered and cultivated. I have "kids" all over the country. A few across the world. Thank you for letting me spend my life investing in yours.


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