The annual pinnacle in the life of a professor is graduation, and tonight was our program’s graduation celebration. From the joy of celebrating 27 months of hard work mastered, to sorrow at knowing this is the last time we would all be together, to laughter over the strange and warm experiences over the years, the range of emotions was extensive.
While it’s been my honor to stand in front of them to teach, I know that it is their work that has brought them to this moment of honor. Galileo is often quoted as saying, “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him discover it in himself.” I have been privileged to have been a part of their journey of discovery about the human body, about themselves, and about God Himself.
Truthfully, my students aren’t just students to me. They’re not just another paper to grade, or questions to answer. After 116 credit hours of coursework, while sharing life under extreme circumstances, I come to know and care much more about them. I have had the blessing to be able appreciate their hearts as well, and they are vibrant reflections of Christ Himself.
This particular class of students had an unfair share of grief and sorrow during their time in our program. Too much disease, death, and disappointment weaved in and out of their lives. But while some could have let hardship cause division and bitterness, this class bonded together to care for and cherish one another. It also led them to love and support the disadvantaged community around them, even when they themselves were busy and hurting. I believe that difficulties bring out the true nature of our character, and in them I saw a beauty reflected in their struggles. I saw the Body of Christ.
So, on these graduates will go into their practice lives. They’ll take the things that they learned in our program, pass their board exams, and begin saving lives one patient visit at a time. I pray that they’ll see Christ in each person they see, and that as they are caring for bodies, they’ll help to heal souls as well.
In fact, I know they will. Because they already have.