During the month of May I had the chance to experience the word commitment both personally and to see it in action. Commitment is a strange word and one perhaps I have managed to adjust through time to suit me. But sometimes there is no adjustment to be made – just a matter of doing whatever it is that one was committed to do. And it is after the commitment is completed that one can really experience the blessings and be thankful for the journey.
This journey began in the fall of 1990. Most will not remember that it began that long ago – but I can remember standing in the workroom of Graford ISD and sharing that if Tarleton ever had a doctoral program – then I would want my doctorate. That was 21 years ago…. Tarleton began that doctoral program in the fall of 2003 and I was a member of the first cohort class.
I quickly learned all the doctoral vocabulary – the one that seemed the most interesting was ABD (all but the dissertation). Evidently there are many students who take the course work but never finish the writing project at the end – dissertation. ABD means nothing in the real world – it is almost like saying I was committed to the program but not committed to the endeavor and the true challenge. For me ABD was beginning to seem like a reality….
But I am Ed.D. – not ABD – and on Saturday, May 12th – I completed the last phase of commitment to earn a doctorate - I walked across Tarleton’s stage one more time. It was His saving grace that made that journey even possible.
While that commitment was important to me and to my family – I witnessed a far greater commitment on an evening in May – in a small church sanctuary – in warm water – with a youth director gone on to another life adventure…
It is a bit difficult to hear his comments (the 3 year old was sitting next to me ….) but some highlights are:
Being committed is what it is all about… but nothing is a commitment anymore – but yet that is what we must do. Jesus knows we are not perfect but he calls us to LOVE when we commit to Him.
I wonder if we remember the value of that commitment. Are we ABD – all but the dedication? Are we living as if we have dedicated our lives to Him – dedicated to LOVE – dedicated to sharing with others - dedicated to supporting the new members of our cohort – dedicated to the writing project of our lives?
I love that he has on his Texas shirt. A forever memory for us who have called him friend. My dearest friend is his wife – Jamie. They have committed their lives to LOVE and to being able to provide their children with a life full of health and happiness. That health commitment has taken them to Colorado – and as difficult and out of character for me that it will be – I am dedicated to remaining a part of their lives – after all – how can I not be committed to their 2 – how can I not be dedicated to them remembering dinners & visits at Cheryl’s house?
The song by Jeremy Camp - Let It Fade - has been playing on my radio and in my head for days - the lyrics just seem to be ringing quite true right now....it is worth the $1.29 on iTunes -
Have you been walking on a surface that's uncertain?
Have you helped yourself to everything that's empty?
You can't live this way too long.
There's more than this, more than this.
Have you been standing on your own feet too long?
Have you been looking for a place where you belong?
You can rest, you will find rest.
Let this old life crumble, let it fade.
Let this new life offered be your saving grace.
Let this old life crumble, let it fade, let it fade.....
His saving grace – oh yes it is that grace that keeps us from being ABD -
Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.