Twenty-two years ago to this very day, on May 10, 1986, a young girl received her bachelor's degree from the University of Detroit. She was nervous, excited, unsure about the future, glad "it" was over, glad "it" was about to begin. She was planning a wedding, a wedding which would happen about a month after the birth of her first child. Yes, it had been a busy year, a year filled with good and bad choices and their consequences. And as she waited anxiously on the floor of Calihan Hall to receive the piece of paper that said she had indeed "done it", her baby leapt within her womb, and she wondered what the future would hold for them.
Today, May 10, 2008, a young girl received her degree from the University of Detroit. Not much has changed in the last 22 years, save the fact that it is now U of D Mercy because of a recent merger with the school down the road. The young girl is nervous, excited, unsure about the future, glad "it" is over, glad "it" is about to begin. She, too, is planning a wedding, but this one is only two weeks away, and there is not yet a child on the way. She, too, waits anxiously to receive that important paper, not remembering the last time she was on the floor of Calihan Hall. Of course she doesn't remember: she was just a baby waiting to be born then. But of course her mother remembers. Of course I do.
I remember so many things. The shame, the confusion, the excitement, the pride. I was seven months pregnant that day I graduated, and it had indeed been a difficult road. But we had traveled it, Rachel and I, and we made it together. Some said it was a journey we should have abandoned.
"I would have had an abortion." I heard that more than once, and I felt a pain that seared my soul. I had made a bad decision once, and by the grace of God I was committed to making better ones now. I sought God's will, God's grace, God's strength, and I was not denied. I graduated that day, my daughter beneath my heart, and I looked ahead to a future filled with God's love. Again, I was not denied.
So twenty-two years have passed, and my daughter graduated today from her mother's alma mater; her "nurturing mother." She is setting out, as I was, to do God's will, to marry the man she loves, to take chances, to make dreams come true, to prove people wrong.
Our God is so great, so good, so gracious. Today I praise Him for the gift of unplanned blessings, for the beauty of goodness that comes when we seek His will. I thank Him for the awesome gift I carried that day as I received my diploma and started a new life. I thank Him for Rachel, my beautiful daughter.
Join me in congratulating Rachel Catherine, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Magna Cum Laude.