On Friday, 21 July 2017, I graduated from Fairfield University with an MFA in Creative Writing.

That morning, I gave a presentation called “Mindful Process Writing: Play for the Tired Brain” (after dumping half a gallon* of water on myself and breaking my new necklace).

*more like two cups of water, but still…

In the afternoon I read half a dozen poems from my thesis: “How Does a Widow Look?” (from two copies that got shuffled together). I ad libbed some parts and I nearly missed reading whole poems.

Before receiving my diploma case, I gave our student speech that I’m now calling: “The Meaning of Celestial” (our graduating cohort was named “Celestial Cohort”). In flip flops. I also accidentally left my favorite heels on the island after deciding not to wear said feet coverings.

If you look closely at this photo, you can see the weariness in my eyes, the “glistening” of sweat on my face, and maybe even a little puffiness from tearing up at a series of beautiful tributes to a cohort member who passed on before graduation.

In my smile you might be able to detect the sheer joy of completion and chipper willingness to pose for this photo, clad in cap, gown, and hood (and with disregard of photo bombers all around me).

Less obvious, perhaps, is one of the biggest life lessons I have learned to date.

It’s not about perseverance, although that is good.

It’s not about gratitude, though that is even better.

It’s about praying that God would get me from point A to B to C… and trusting Him despite the snafus that trailed alongside me. 

It’s about doing great things and messing up along the way and still doing great things–

It’s about being perfectly IMPERFECT.

I can’t count the number of times people have said to  me: “I don’t know how you do it!” Well, I’m here to tell you, “I” don’t.

After all I can do to prepare, I show up as I am and strive to do my best.

Fortunately, God works with that!


Originally posted on 7/25/17