Monday, January 31, 2011
The TC Graduation Week-end, Part I
Those of you who have been with me since I began blogging in June, 2006, have followed the saga of Kevin and his fight for his life against drug addiction. My first blogging buddy was Diane at Partners in Prayer for Our Prodigals. We bonded immediately over our prodigals. Kristen introduced us. Diane held a big blogging party to welcome Kevin home from his time at Teen Challenge. He and I had written about our journey together, and we were excited to have him home and on with his life.
Kevin went back to school to complete his degree - this time with a social work major - the very department where I worked. It was fun to have him around, and he did well in school. We thought he was doing really well in every way, but he was hiding the truth from everyone. He and Angie went to Africa for a Christmas - he missed two weeks of school, which had been pre-arranged with the faculty. But when he got back, he dropped out and headed downhill rapidly.
Kevin called one of his friends from his previous time with TC - Chris told him to get on a plane and get out to Maine, where he was now working on staff. It took a couple more weeks for it all to come together, but in March, almost two years ago now, he flew to Portland, Maine, to the newly opened program in Winthrop outside of Augusta. This past week-end Chris and his wife, Joy (who has been a great mentor and friend to Angie from long distance) were able to be with us for the ceremony.
We were so blessed by one of Kevin's friends who successfully graduated last year and has been doing well. He was so determined that all 3 of us would be there for Kev's big day that he financed the transportation part of this trip - amazing gift to us! Last Friday at dark o'clock (3:30 am), we headed for the airport with a bit of trepidation, based on the consistently stormy weather that has been on the East Coast this winter. We had a stop in Baltimore and the news was that it was snowing there. We had very little time to switch planes, so it was a bit nerve-wracking. The reality was a light snow in Baltimore with our departure gate right next to our arrival gate. We even had time to grab a quick lunch to take on the plane with us. (We dodged the weather bullet in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, and Denver - thank you, Lord!)
We had been nervous about the tight squeeze to get to Brockton by 5:00. The arrival in Boston was flawless, our only checked suitcase was the first one down the carousel, the shuttle to Enterprise was right there, and the customer service Enterprise gave us was unbelievable - we were on our way in no time flat. Kev had met us there and was at the baggage area just as we walked down the concourse. It took him and Angie longer to get out of the airport parking garage than it did us to get the car and get on the way. But amazingly, we were at our meeting spot within two minutes of each other. We had time to get to our hotel and changed and to the TC facility in Brockton, Massachusetts by the 4:30 meeting with Pastor Steve, the director.
Pastor Steve wanted to have a chance to visit with Kev and Angie together before the rest of the graduates arrived. He had prayer with them as the others were arriving.
Those students who were going through Commencement (which means they have finished the 15 month program - the ceremony we missed last July for Kev) and the ones who were graduating (meaning they finished an additional 6 month internship) met together for some words of admonition and directions.
They have one of these graduation ceremonies every month on the last Friday evening. It is a worship service as well as a ceremony. The first hour was spent in music and prayer for the many prayer requests that come in to the various centers up and down New England. It was a blessed time (though I have to admit I did doze off at times, since I'd been up for 13 hours already).
The praise and worship time was inspiring and fun - this song in particular spoke to me and said how I was feeling.
Then - the big moment arrived. The graduates and commencees came down the aisle to the traditional strains of "Pomp and Circumstance," accompanied by lots of clapping, whistling, and cheering.
Each of them was awarded his/her diploma --
Each of the five graduates gave a personal testimony of his journey - in 3 minutes. I would have loved to hear a lot more, but it was great to see our son up there, glowing with the love of the Lord, and happiness that he finished something for the first time in his life. He gave a thumbs up to all of those friends in the crowd who were really cheering him on.
I loved hearing his words, and I hope to share the video when I can figure out how to do that technology!
The final prayer together just ended things perfectly.
Next time - our very short time as tourists.