Stolen Gratitude

If you’ve been following along with this blog… (or following me on Facebook, Twitter, on the phone, via text or in person) you know that we just celebrated Sierra’s graduation from Chico State University.  What an extraordinary experience to watch your baby girl walk across the stage, as they announce the name you gave her.  That was the surreal part… the name that we chose for this child was announced in celebration of her accomplishment.  The name that God has written in the palm of his hand.  The name that God allowed me to bestow upon His precious creation.  Sierra Brooke Rocha. I have come to realize that our children are entrusted to us by God.  They are not mine, they are His.   We are their stewards as they grow and mature but they do not really belong to us.  They are His gift.  It is only after really grasping this concept that parents can begin to understand that the feeling our children bring to us is not pride… it is gratitude.  Pride means I had something to do with it, gratitude means I’m just blessed to be along for the ride.  That’s why it feels so good to share these moments.  With hearts full of gratitude, there is no room for anything else.  That is grace.

There were so many memorable moments this past weekend.  Great times with family and friends but some things burn in your heart forever.  For me, hearing her name was the first indelible moment, but the second came at the end of weekend.

As we were preparing to leave Chico, with the trailer packed with her furniture.  Sierra presented us with the stole that she wore at graduation.  It is called  the “Stole of Gratitude.”  Following is the story behind the symbol

Every graduate has a special person who, through moral or financial support, made a big difference  in his or her life.  The Stole of Gratitude offers an opportunity to say, “Thanks for helping me make it through, thanks for making it possible for me to succeed!”

After the ceremony, the new graduate presents the Stole of Gratitude to someone who provided extraordinary support, or who has helped with wisdom, words of encouragement, or financial assistance.  After graduation, the graduate may take the stole from around his/her neck and place it around the neck of the recipient.

There are no words.

All I can say is a simple thank you… to God, to Sierra and to everyone who has wished us well along the way.  To borrow the words of Mary, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.”

Here is one of my favorite pictures from the weekend.  That’s my girl… and that’s my stole.