This picture was taken of me and my mother in June, 2010. The same day that I was accepted as a provisional elder in the New Mexico Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, I also received my Master of Divinity Degree from the Iliff School of Theology. This celebration capped a series of firsts in the life of my family. Among my mother’s brothers and sisters families, I am the first (and only person up to this point) to receive a master’s degree. If all goes well, I will be the first (and only) person to receive a doctorate degree.
Now, back to the photo. This is one of my favorites. Little did I know that within a year and a half of taking this picture, my mother would be gone. But in this picture, we stand together. I, being grateful to have her continued support to encourage me to reach farther, think as far outside the box I wanted, and to know that even if I fell on my face it would not matter. She loved me unconditionally.
I think you can see her excitement about my achievements in her eyes. I loved standing beside her in that moment, laughing and celebrating a milestone that should have not even had been a consideration (if one pays attention to statistical data). We stand together to remind the world to not be defined by other’s expectations. Reach farther, dream bigger, love deeper.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t have a memory flash through my head of my mom. For a second, I stop what I am doing and give thanks for her and for the life that I have; for her strength that carried me through many dark times and struggles in my life. My hope is to continue to make her proud and know that her unending love flows through my veins.
Today I say thank you to my mom, who even though she is not here in a physical sense, continues to support me in a spiritual way. Praise be to God, who brings people into our lives that lead us, love us, and support us with unwavering faith.