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I graduated with my BS: English & Writing: Creative Writing, Minor: History back in March. My degree presentation ceremony and commencement where held last weekend on 6 & 7, May, 2022, in Lynchburg, Virginia. I live in New Hampshire, so you can assume, correctly, I finished my degree online. Emily, my wife, came up with the incredible proposition to pack-up the kids and travel to Virginia. This way the family can watch me stride across the stage, watch me shake hands with the Dean, watch me collect my degree (actual one came in the mail), and watch me soak in the magisterium of the experience. Family road trip!
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1st Destination: Natural Bridge, Virginia.
One-hour from Lynchburg, VA, sits Natural Bridge. I grew-up in Virginia, so when my wife convinced me to walk-my-graduation, my very next thought was, “We should stay in Natural Bridge.” The place is a gem, and it’s one of my favorite natural sites on Earth. Plus, I can be pretty lazy, and getting to the bridge itself is easy work.
Natural Bridge left photo; I’m under the bridge in the right photo.
I discovered I was falling-in-love with my roots. A decade flashed-by since I last experienced a greening, springing Virginia. The state is the naturalist’s paradise, the artist’s muse, the writer’s mystic, and the historian’s dream; and, I count myself competent in three of the four just mentioned.
As for Natural Bridge, I am reminded of God the artist, the Creator who’s brush is nature, who’s thoughts write our philosophies, who’s desires transforms our religions, and who’s legacy tattoos our planet in stunning beauty.
When I see natural wonders, I am filled with the familiar and peaceful, awe-struck intoxicating feeling the poets labor to write. However, I find guilt soon follows, and I am reminded of the rock-band Rehab‘s hit song Graffiti the World. Here’s just few versus which captures my inner-angst with how humans treat our natural world:
..."You know they say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. So vengeful, and Mother Earth has been done wrong. And I think she's sick, yo, she's pukin' up lava. Her nerves tremble along fault lines, ready to drop an entire city of filth that's been forced upon her. We built these Towers of Babylon, and feel remorse for nada. ...... Could it be our biggest barrier is language? Or is oil that important that one would inflict anguish? So cars could deplete the ozone on highways that stretch across land where Indians once raised families. We're in denial, the world is afraid. And you say there's no more slaves! ...... Chorus: Graffiti the land with skyscrapers. Graffiti the sky with airplanes and satellites. Graffiti the minds of children with your man-made laws. Graffiti the world, I saw the writing on the wall. ..... We're addicted to trains, planes, and automobiles. We're addicted to addiction, we dig livin' in fiction...."
This song reminds me that despite all of man’s achievement, all of man’s so-called progress, and all of man’s inventions achieved, ultimately, man succeeded in only becoming graffiti artists and vandals to creation.
Go Green & Live Clean!
2nd Destination: Liberty University
I am proud to graduate from Liberty University. When I walked around campus, I baffled open-mouthed to friends and family about how much the young college has changed—I hadn’t walked across campus in over a decade. I’m not just writing this because of all the new buildings, but the ethos of the campus changed too. Diversity reigns at Liberty! Students from every corner of the world filled the seats around me. We were all united in one-thing: our love of Christ. My degree presentation ceremony opened with the Lord’s Prayer in several different languages; we prayed in Arabic, French, Mandarin, English, Spanish, Russian, etcetera. I admit that until that day, I had never experienced such an immersive, universal, and diverse Christian experience.
God isn’t a capitalist; He isn’t a socialist or communist or fascist. Jesus isn’t a white American putting Old Glory first. Jesus is for you and for me and for everyone who is, was, and is to come.Tweet
My fellow graduates came from every state and country, from every economic and political theory you can imagine, and every religion rostered. At Liberty University, All Are Created Equally. God isn’t a capitalist; He isn’t a socialist or communist or fascist. Jesus isn’t a white American putting Old Glory first. Jesus is for you and for me and for everyone who is, was, and is to come.
I may never be able thank Liberty enough for my education, but I will write for God’s glory. I even hope one of my kids will attend there. Click here to read one of my flash-Christian-stories.
I graduated with my BS: English & Writing: Creative Writing, Minor: History back in March. My degree presentation ceremony and commencement where held last weekend on 6 & 7, May, 2022, in Lynchburg, Virginia.
One of the biggest highlights for me was getting to meet a fellow online student, and my very best writing friend. For two-years, she and I challenged and sharpened and held each other together through all the ups-and-downs of learning to master the written language. Meeting her was such a generative moment for me, that I doubt I’ll ever forget it. Oh, and of course, taking pics in the end-zone was cool too, lol.
Christ’s presence at Liberty felt like blood-pumping through me after an intense workout; I had no choice but to yield, submit, and experience Him—Despite a distracting and ongoing personal angst with my greater family. I left reminded, and I cannot believe I needed to be reminded of this, that God is for me when no one else respects, or understands, or tries to understand His calling for my life.
Now don’t let me fool you. I’m no Saint. I’ve committed every sin you can commit. I’ve burned bridges, and I’ve built idols. I’ve stolen and left other’s broken—their bodies and minds. I’ve drank, smoked, and screwed it all. I’m no longer ashamed to share this: I don’t know the real number of sexual partners I had before my wife (somewhere in the 30’s or 40’s). I suffered with life’s bottom, and I rubbed shoulders with life’s top; I’ve been poor, I’ve been rich. I’ve drank and sinned with current-serving world leaders. I’ve refused, in my life, many-the-poor’s requests for help. I’ve seen and experienced the world through light and through darkness—I have wielded both light and darkness. I’ve witnessed, first-hand, Earth’s master, Satan prowling and stalking those who believe they can live this life alone, with only their wit to rely on, without Christ or his body (the Church). But, during my stay at Liberty, and, more importantly, my time spent studying for my degree, I developed spiritual callouses and insightful, watchful eyes which provide the answers and wisdom I need to live-out His purpose. A long time, ago, God remade me. I often forget that, and I act unchristlike, but His mercy sustains me. He saves me everyday. I am still broken. I am still nothing without God, but I am not alone, for God lives within me.
God called me to write. By following Him, He sets everything right. The only choice I ever had in life has always been the same: God’s will or mine. His path is generative; my path is a trail of sorrows.
Email me if you want to learn more about Christ’s love for you, or if you just want to chat about something you’re reading.
We can share cocktails over Skype, lol.
I’m a stay-at-home father of two-toddlers, and until March 18, 2022, I was a full-time student at Liberty University—LUO. Juggling these two responsibilities turned out to be a defining moment in my life. I think it’s worth recapping, don’t you? If not, too bad. You’re here anyway, so keep reading. 😂 Why did I go… Continue Reading →
The purpose of life is not to arrive safely into old-age, but to live presently.
A Short Story “…I don’t consider your happiness when I call. You are needed, and you are able, therefore you must go.”