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pride and humility

May 28, 2010

Andy’s Graduation, originally uploaded by nevershaken.

Yesterday, Andy graduated with his Masters of Divinity. This is, finally, the moment when he can be finished with 21 years of schooling. He’s been working on this degree for three and a half years, while juggling part time work, ministry internships, life, help with cleaning and cooking and, most consuming of all, me.

It’s awesome and I am so proud of him.

During the preparation for the ceremony, one of his friends laid their hand on my arm as I ran by and said “Congratulations to you too, Leah!” Since I work at the institution and am on the graduation administrative team, I naturally assumed he was congratulating me for nearing completion of a successful commencement ceremony. So I laughed and said, “the congratulations are for all of you today!”

He laughed right back and said, “No, no. All of our wives deserve every bit as much – if not more – congratulations for what you’ve done over the last four years for us. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

This young man was not the only one who felt that way. As I moved through the floor after the ceremony, congratulating people and popping photos of my hubby with his friends, nearly everyone either told me congratulations myself, or offered their congratulations to both of us, as a couple.

As I lay in bed that night watching my tired husband sleep, these little congratulations all came back to me. And I felt joy. But my joy didn’t stem from receiving recognition and not having to live in the shadow of my husband. Yesterday, all of my pride resided in him.

What brought me joy was thinking that these people – people who value their spouses so much that they express vocally and proudly that they owe all their education and achievements to them; who love their spouses so much that yesterday was not about themselves, but about THEMselves as a family, a marriage or family unit that worked towards a goal together; who recognize the hard work and sacrifice that their spouses and families put into their education, and are profoundly thankful for it – these are the people who are going to be serving in our churches and campuses and counseling centers. Their ministry will be all the more rich for such humility and love.

And all of that, in turn, just makes me more proud of all of them, and especially my husband. I’m so proud of you, Andy!

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