In May of 2003, I graduated from high school.
In May of 2007, I graduated from Rice University with my Bachelor of Music degree, rocking the pink hood and the Hanszen College stole.
And four years later, on an unseasonably cool and rainy, cicada-infested May 13, 2011, I graduated from Vanderbilt Divinity School with my Master of Divinity degree. That red tassel and hood means Theology, and I love the black and gold Vanderbilt colors on the inside of the hood.
I remember when I first started dating Joe and I was nervous about telling him that I felt called to be a priest in the Episcopal Church. Now, we’ve been married for almost 3 years, and I’ve graduated from Divinity School. It’s kind of amazing how quickly three years can fly by, but when I think of all of the papers and sermons written, all of the lectures attended, all of the conversations in the Common Room, all of the friends made, the community worship services planned and attended, the prayers that went up, the test anxiety, the trips back to Texas for my ordination process, the clergy who supported me, I know that it was time well spent. It was a time in my life when the days and weeks seemed to drag at times, but the years went by quickly. The first three years of my marriage, of my time in Nashville, were spent in Divinity School. I started a food blog and bought a house. I spent a summer as a hospice chaplain. I ran two half-marathons. And I took 84 hours worth of credit in 3 years to get this degree.
I can’t believe it’s over, but I think I’m ready to move into ministry, whatever that might look like. This time of intentional academic and spiritual formation is over, even though it will continue for the rest of my life, and I know that God brought Joe and me to Vanderbilt and Nashville, not just for us to receive but also for us to give back. And with that degree in hand, I am ready.