A few weeks ago I had the priveledge of attending a graduation luncheon. The first extraordinary gentleman was my husband. He was graduating that day, furthering his studies as a nurse. He had worked a full time job and studied for this degree, all while remaining an engaged husband, dad, and follower of Jesus. I’m proud of him. He was diligent and sacrificial. By far, he is the most extraordinary in my eyes.
Since my husband had studied online, initially he didn’t know anyone at the luncheon (although we both recognized the voice of his last instructor. She looked just like I’d imagined her to based on her unassuming yet commanding voice-white-haired, bright-eyed, and with a comfortable yet fixed air of purpose.). We took a table near the window, noticing the other two chairs were empty.
Two professors joined us. Before long I had the uncanny sense that this was no accident, that this one of those times I’ll always remember. Professor Strovsky*, a tall white-haired gentleman with an Eastern European accent,was born near Croatia. One of his first statements gave me the idea that this is a man who has really made the most of his education.Pretty much every country that came up during the luncheon was a country he’s lived in and perhaps taught in. He wouldn’t tell us how many languages he can speak. He has a profound respect for different cultures, and the wisdom to have learned from each of them in a way that seemed to have only strengthened his own faith while broadening his respect for other people.
“The most dangerous places are the most beautiful,” he said, after speaking briefly of his time teaching in the Middle East. I wonder if he knows how many applications that has? Probably. Goosebumps.
Professor Denny* was a quiet, elderly gentleman whose energy for teaching seemed to have few limits. In his eighties, he was still teaching strong. (Also, he made me miss my grandfather.) He had story after story of growing up in Michigan (America, in another era…), his numerous jobs and degrees, and one of the things that stood out to us was his shrewd use of the system (for lack of a better way to say it) to avail himself of education and broaden his career prospects. Man, this guy’s working life has more facets than a diamond.
In the end, Strovsky verbalized something succinctly that Denny had illustrated in his stories: no amount of education can hurt you. “You have to measure it out,” he said,speaking of family life. “It’s bittersweet.” Then he looked at me before telling my husband, “remember, this is her degree too. She is your biggest ally.”
So there you have it. Three extraordinary gentlemen. Isn’t it amazing when we get to talk to people who have gone before us? They tell us the good and the bad, and give us a telescope vision that we can’t see from here.We are excited about where God will lead us.
My husband keeps getting the message that he’s not done with his education, even though the thought is daunting at times. I think God gave him a bit more impetus that day. As for me, I’ve always felt like my husband’s cheerleader in this arena (please strike all negative associations of that word from your mind. Now. Mostly talking to myself here…) That day has struck a chord for me too. I realized what I’d thought before was true…..in a way, we both graduated that day.
*not his real name.