What I learned from NYU’s 2015 Graduation

This morning I read David’s words recorded in Psalm 103.  “Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”  I wondered, what does it look like and feel like to praise God with all that is within me?  In a flash, I remembered what happened twelve hours earlier and felt a visceral connection between those words and my life.

Six thirty last evening, I was nibbling on cucumber slices at the dinner table while I waited for my husband Phil to arrive home after his meeting. I scrolled through Facebook and saw a post that NYU’s graduation was being live streamed. No big deal… except for the fact that our daughter-in-law was graduating from NYU that day.

11011189_10153341653273688_1177754312350767099_n Melissa grad pic 2I prayed, “Oh, please, please, please, God, let the internet work tonight.”  I clicked the link, and there it was, New York University’s commencement ceremony for 35,000 graduates at Yankee stadium. Slim chance we’d find her in that crowd, except for one thing. She would be on the platform.  NYU selects a student to be the representative recipient for each of their schools and Melissa was chosen for the School of Global Public Health.

Phil and I ate chicken casserole with eyes glued to the screen as the internet connection faded in and out. In the last minutes of the ceremony, the department head of Global Public Health stepped up to the podium…  and called Melissa’s name. By then I was on the edge of my seat, clutching Phil’s arm, squealing, hopping around, and dizzy with delight as she was presented with her diploma and told as a representative of her class, “the world needs you.”11222641_1859899640902699_6035742525998395630_n Melissa gradBecause we’ve lived more than two decades in Africa, we missed years of events in the lives of our family. But tonight we were actually watching this special occasion in real time from a distance of 6,396 nautical miles. Everything in me was totally alive in that moment of excitement and celebration. The rest of the evening I floated. Grateful. Content. Smiling and smiling some more.

And I think that is what it’s like to experience something with everything that’s within me.

2 thoughts on “What I learned from NYU’s 2015 Graduation

  1. How wonderful!! God must have had a huge smile on his face as he was orchestrating this happening (God moment) for you two! So happy for you! Love, Mare

  2. Hi Jan, I’m so glad you and Phil were able to watch the commencement online with us! It was such a thrill to see Melissa represent her school. She has worked unbelievably hard to reach this goal . . . but what you didn’t see was how much of Melissa’s success is made possible by her loving husband, Peter. We have been so impressed with the way he continually steps up to partner with her and help her achieve her dreams. What a great couple they are! So much stronger and better together. Thanks for all you taught Peter, for the example you and Phil live out, and for loving and encouraging Melissa.

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