Graduation is a milestone. A notable stage change in life. It is mixed with the bittersweet emotions of saying goodbye to one stage and stepping into a new one; especially when you consider the overwhelming sense of loss as you think of loved ones that would’ve been proud to stand beside you.
Last Friday, my sweet husband marched across the stage with a sense of accomplishment and anxiousness to get to the next stage in life. I forced him to revel in the moment for just that night, as this accomplishment is such a great one. He did pause, but military servicemen don’t pause for long.
As I reflect on the last 3 years of this journey with him, I consider the obstacles he faced to get here. It’s impossible for me to know what it’s like to face war and then to return to the civilian world where people want to argue over the smallest things. It’s impossible for me to know the vulnerability felt as one stops in traffice because for 15 months, stopping my vehicle made me an easy target for IEDs. It’s impossible for me to understand the difficulty of sitting in a classroom where what is claimed to be “relevant” carries so little real relevance in the bigger picture that I don’t struggle to pay attention. It’s impossible for me to keep my calm when someone claims that servicemen are selfish and don’t deserve adequate pay and recognition when I know the sacrifices we made.
My Jon is a champ. He has overcome so much in exiting his Army service to pursue a degree and assimilate into the civilian world. It’s impossible for most to understand this stage change unless they have made the same one. But crossing the stage was more than just crossing the stage and I’m so so so proud of what he has finished.
I pray for those of you in school. It’s not an easy place to be. Keep your eyes focused on staying a learner despite the experience in your classrooms and take in the journey as you grow. That is what the diploma will represent to you at the end; not what you did to earn your “A” but who you became as a result of perseverance.
Congrats to all of you who’ve graduated this spring. And to my husband a special hug of admiration from me! I love you.