I, Kelly Anderson, am officially a college graduate.
It’s still so strange to type those words, and I have yet to fully accept that they are true.
The night before graduation day, I had put the finishing touches on a gloriously composed piece on my feelings about the next day’s events. I hit “Publish,” and my words vanished into the interwebs, never to be seen again. I thought about trying to rewrite it, but decided to watch a movie with my sister instead. A choice well made.
In reality, the words I had attempted to publish could not compare to the feelings that were felt on May 8th, 2015.
I was one year older, and two years behind everyone I graduated high school with, but that didn’t matter. It was a day of celebration. A day where I felt more accomplished than I have ever felt in the 24 years I have walked this beautiful Earth. It was a day of rejoicing, as long nights of paper writing and unit creating came to an end. Six years of classes, and waiting (im)patiently to fill out my graduation application. Six long years of too much coffee, and one too many energy drinks. Finally, the day was here, and one of my biggest dreams had come to fruition. On this day, I was blessed to have those I love the most celebrate with me, which made it even more special than it already was.
Over these six years, Jesus has proved His faithfulness time and time again. He has brought me through valleys, and carried me to the highest mountaintops. He has provided everything I have needed, exactly when I needed it. His grace, and peace, and mercy overflow in my heart, and there is nothing more I can do but to praise Him for His goodness. I want to shout at the top of my lungs, but even that is not enough to express my gratitude. I jump, and hop, and dance, and sing, but still, I am only me. The joy that I have because of my Jesus grows deeper every passing moment. His presence was so real on May 8, and I am thankful for the reminder that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Without Him, I would have given up.
I was blessed to have my grandparents there. Two individuals who have played such a crucial role in my emotional and spiritual development. Their prayers have seen me through the darkest of days, and their care packages can’t be beat. My Papa never stops beaming with pride and love for his first granddaughter, but on this day, his face beamed a little brighter. Throughout the day Grandma reminisced with me stories from my childhood, and held me close to say how much she loved me. Without them, I would have given up.
My parents were also there; not as separate units, but as a pair. Joined together, and a walking testimony of restoration and God’s grace (if you could only see how far we’ve come). Throughout these six years, they have guided me and loved me unconditionally. They have prayed strong prayers, and have supported my every move. There are not enough words to describe how proud I am to be their daughter, and how blessed I am to be loved by them. Without them, I would have given up.
My sister was there, and because I was already sappy here, I won’t say much more. However, I will say that I am so thankful that she has (and always will) loved me through it all. To celebrate with my one and only sister was a great blessing, and I hope that I have been a good example for her life. Without her, I would have given up.
Finally, my husband was there. My rock, best friend, and a constant source of motivation and support; always reminding me why I needed to study and finish strong. He cooked dinner when I had night class, and did the dishes when I had the most homework to do. He let me cry when I was overwhelmed, and celebrated with me as I was rewarded with a 4.0 each semester we were married. He holds my heart, and will always have my deepest love and affection, for he has loved and cared for me at my worst, and from day one has always included me in his future. Without him, I would have given up.
There are so many others that were there that mean more to me than any blog post could ever express. I suppose I’m still in denial that there are people that I didn’t say goodbye to that I won’t see for a very long time. “Goodbye” is such a strong word, and the connotations it holds are almost gruesome. Goodbye is forever. And forever is a really long time. On Friday I took as many pictures as I could, and then slipped away without really saying “goodbye” to anyone. In my heart I wanted to sit down with each person I love that was graduating, buy them a cup of coffee, and talk about the last four years. Every memory would be scoured, none forgotten. I want to cry because my memories are so sweet, yet fleeting. However, even though this time with each precious soul can never be relived, it will never be forgotten.
I want them to know that they are loved by me, and that each of them have more potential than the world can handle.
That their words have built me up, and have given me the strength and endurance to simply wake up and face the day.
There is not enough space or time to share my gratitude.
For without them, I would have given up.