Sunday, December 14, 2008

Amen


I was asked to give the Benediction at my Commencement ceremony - anyone who knows me understands that Benediction and Brenda are rarely used in the same sentence! Opening? Sure. Entertainment? You bet. Religious dismissal? Not usually! :o) Even so, I was honored to be asked, and took the assignment very seriously. I was given a 60 second time limit, and some general guidelines (basically the same steps we give our beginning writers about including a salutation, body, conclusion, etc.).

As a speaker, I was invited to gather and prepare with the other dignitaries - the faculty and staff members, the President of Regis, the deans of schools - all dressed in their magnificent robes and regalia. The sheer amount of education gathered in those 2 rooms! They were all so welcoming and down to earth - they put the four of us at ease, and were incredibly encouraging. Dr. Marie Friedemann was especially helpful, giving us those last minute details and helping us look our best before we processed on stage. I am going to miss this faculty!

In addition to the 806 graduates and their families at Saturday's ceremony, the Governor and First Lady of Colorado (Bill and Jeannie Ritter) were in attendance, too! My brother was in town, and Ann and Kim snuck in near the end. There were a lot of people in that ballroom!

The Provost said it was the first Commencement ever with live music from the podium (I sang the 2 lines of text near the end). The faculty was highly complimentary, too. They said they "knew I had a special sparkle in my eye and that they just didn't know the sparkle would come out through my voice!" Here's the text of my Benediction:

Dear Heavenly Father,


As we gather today to celebrate this academic milestone, let us recognize that we have not been alone on this journey.


Indeed, there were many people at our side, first and foremost being our family and friends, who gave us their support, their advice, and their love.


Secondly, Regis University, an institute where learners do indeed become leaders, where instructors create opportunities for our success, and where peers provide encouragement and inspiration.

Lastly, Lord, we thank and remember Your presence on our path. We pray that You continue to grant us courage to fulfill our callings, peace in times of struggle, and strength that we will invest both our education and knowledge into worthy causes.

I leave you now with the words of Meredith Willson:

"May your troubles all be small ones, and your fortunes ten times ten. May the good Lord bless and keep you till we meet again."

In Your holy name,
 
Amen

3 comments:

The Yeadons said...

Congratulations! I feel so horrible that I didn't know about your graduation-what an accomplishment! That is amazing that they asked you to give the benediction too, what you said was wonderful!

Heather said...

Congratulations!!! Your speech gave me goosebumps!

Merry Christmas...hope you get some time to really relax!

Colleen said...

Brenda!
Congrats and what an honor to do the benediction to, a true testament to how you become part of your new communities. :) Congrats!

Colleen