Lent Photo-a-Day 3/1: Celebrate

Life offers many opportunities for celebration. Births and birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, and life achievements all come to mind when I think of the word celebrate. We mark the passing of time, life's turning points, and accomplishments, large and small, with celebrations. In my family, photographs document many of those celebrations. We never were home movie or video people. Mother shot mostly slides and I am a print and digital image photographer. That means we have a closet filled with slide carousels and drawers and bookshelves filled with photos, some neatly stored in albums and many not.

Today I decided to acknowledge the celebration that accompanied the completion of my PhD. For me this day was about far more than a college degree, it was about not giving up. It was about hope, and patience, and a ferocious tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds -- not in my favor. It was about not letting devastating illness take away my life and my dreams, but most of all, it was about trusting God. Because of my illness, a degree I should have completed in 3-4 years took 8 years. Eight very long years.

No doubt I was jubilant about graduating, but I think my joy was easily surpassed by that of my parents. I was born as my father was slogging his way through his dissertation. My mother typed countless drafts and pages of statistical tables, in triplicate, with carbon paper, with no mistakes or erasures allowed. She staked her claim on half of his degree. She swore she would never go through the trial of a dissertation ever again -- but she did with mine. And so she claimed half of my degree, too, and declared she now had a full doctoral degree. And she was proud. There were daddy-daughter cap, gown, and hood photos. There was a big party at the house. There was joy. And there was relief. I did it! WE did it!

Celebrate life -- the big things and the little things. Those moments are the stuff life is made of, and life is worthy of celebration.


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