Friday, June 22, 2012

The Graduation Dinner

After missing the road to turn right on while chatting with cousin Jamie, I made it up St. David's Road to the correct golf course.  The triangular entrance greeted me abruptly, and I slowed down which seemed to be the only way to fit in on the windy road to the main building, beyond the impressive line of trees.  The small grass landing before the building had about seven well-outfitted children each being taught privately, swinging at golf balls along straight lines, being instructed, or calmly observing.  As I saw the parking lot far off to the left, I followed the valet signs around to the main door, exchanged the ticket for my car and walked confidently up the stone steps.

Once I found the room with the Cardiology group, I ran into Mike's program director and he introduced me to a well respected doctor who will be joining the company Mike is graduating from.  The program director was pleased to see me and very complimentary, since he knows all about my Myasthenia Gravis condition, especially since his father had the same disease.  His father lived into his 90's, and took mestinon right up until he passed away.  He seemed relieved to see me there and looking well.  That was wonderful.

I decided to ditch the structured black interview dress, and pull out the new maxi dress that Amanda got me for my birthday.  It was floor length, teal with some abstract wide stripes and a beaded waistband, and I wore a pair of Guess wedges.  The wedges were surprisingly comfortable for how high they were!  My necklace was a tear shaped gold pendant with an emerald gem in the middle (a birthday present from Mike a while back), and dangly earrings I got from Dad for Christmas. I had my makeup on by 5:30 just as the babysitter came to the door.  A highlight of putting my makeup on was how the children wanted some on their faces, and were intrigued by every twisty bottle and stick.  A dab of mascara on their noses was too cute to pass up and fulfilled their "I want some" and "what's that?" comments and questions.

These types of dinners are generally a nice cocktail hour with floating waitstaff and open bar and then a formal dinner.  There is a lot of smiling and talking, and greeting and maneuvering drink and appetizer from one hand to another, always ready for a handshake or friendly hug. My friends Musowa and Lori said they would pray for me that I would be able to speak and eat well during the night.  My function during the evening was spot on.  I didn't have any trouble talking with anyone or smiling for pictures, or seeing through the camera lens or anything!  I can't remember the last time I was at a party, dinner, or function with a lot of talking that I didn't have a problem swallowing or talking over dinner.  Thanks for the prayers, Musowa and Lori!

After our strawberry and mixed green salad, dotted with blue cheese crumbles and berry vinaigrette dressing, the charger and salad plates were removed.  Our conversation swayed from child raising to practicing medicine and from how long trainees have left to where the graduates are all going to work.  Our conversations were eventually accompanied by a plate of filet mignon with a thin gravy paired with a honey glazed salmon, the plate finished off with some mixed vegetables and roasted potatoes.  The highlight of each dish was the purple and white orchid, which kind of smiled back at you as you waited for everyone to receive their main course.

Like clockwork, the dinner plates were removed as we reclined from our plates and the coffee parade came out.  Decaf or regular, and a wedge of tart with chocolate drizzle and fresh berries.  The crust was the best.  I forgot how much I like fruit tarts.  As in past years, as the dessert and coffee is being served, the program begins.  The head of the cardiology education department gives an inspirational glimpse into doctoring, and pursuing excellence in practice and academia.  He then introduces the general cardiology program director, whom Mike graduated with last year.  Then, the specialist program directors, Interventional and Electrophysiology.  Mike was the Electrophysiology graduate this year, and his program director finally took the podium and spoke.  He didn't talk much of where Mike was going, but about his smarts and intellectual curiosity, which in turn made he himself a better doctor.  After a very complimentary discourse, Mike took the stage and received his final diploma. Handshakes, smiles and pictures.

There you have it, the final graduation.  After all the pomp and questions about where we're going and if we are excited about it, we both realized it hasn't settled in that we are moving. On Wednesday the movers come and will pack us up, and on Thursday move us away and unpack us.  We have been surrounded and in fellowship with friends and family for the last few weeks, which has helped tremendously combat the lonely nature of moving.  June was kicked off with a BBQ hosted by our community groups from our church.  There must have been over 80 people there.  We were thoroughly blessed and encouraged.  Friends of ours took turns speaking into our lives, sharing memories, encouraging us, or reading Scripture.  We had a time of prayer at the end where several people prayed for us.

Within one of the prayers, there was a prophetic word that someone gave, and this also happened later in the month at a different meeting, the same word by a different people at two different times.  Kayte and Rachel both had a picture in their mind of us meeting a young family with children just Naomi and David's age.  Rachel specifically said, ages 2 and 5.  A few days after Rachel said these things, I received an email from a young mom who lives out where we are moving, from the church we will be going to.  She is coming over next Friday with her three children, bringing a snack, and willing to help in any way and visit.  Her children are 6 1/2 (a girl),  and two boys, 5 and 2.  How kind of God to give his Holy Spirit as a helper to us, and the gift of prophecy to build up the body of Christ.  We were definitely built up by this word.

As we recline tonight, and will awake to a slightly emptied dining and living room, we are more aware of the gifts God has entrusted us with during our lives thus far.  Everyone speaks about how fast time goes, and how quickly children mature into adults.  It becomes more vivid the quickness of life when you start saying goodbye to people whom you may not see again, and packing up and letting go in a hopefully balanced fashion.  I can wrap my mind around a few more days here near Philadelphia, but how amazing that the Lord can wrap His mind around all of our days.  Ordering our steps, blessing us with victories, graduations, and loved ones.  Much more than we deserve.

It is our hope

that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:17-21 ESV)