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Life's Not Fair: But Persevere!

My Friend Debbie      As promised, I want to share with you what happened at my graduation ceremony from the university. While not quite so shocking as being physically hit, like I was at community college, it was mind-boggling what the department chair said about me while giving me the award for finishing first in my class. At graduation I was presented with the "Most Outstanding Graduate" award for a Bachelor's degree student in Political Science.

      Keep in mind that this was quite an honor, the highest award bestowed for each degree. I went to a huge state school with thousands of students graduating in simultaneous ceremonies all over the campus. My school's ceremony had around 800 graduates. The award I was to receive was quite prestigious, the front few rows were reserved for my friends and family.

     The department chair had interviewed me the previous week and requested me to submit a biography for him to read upon presentation of the award; however, he diverged substantially from his script. After announcing the award, telling the audience that I was going to law school and that I planned on studying Religious Liberties and First Amendment Law, he proceeded to take credit for my grades and this award! He said that while my perfect 4.0 GPA was a tribute to my intellectual skills, it was also significantly a tribute to the tolerance of the political science faculty, whose views were completely opposite of mine, as evidenced by them giving this award to somebody with my conservative Christian political and religious views! The implication was that I should have received bad grades because I did not agree with my professors religiously or politically, but because they were so tolerant and wonderful, they still allowed me to graduate #1 in my class. Can you imagine?

     When I returned to my seat, one of my professors, who was a faculty marshal and seated only a few chairs down from me, leaned forward and said to me, "Kerriél, you know that you and I have probably never agreed on anything; however, I would like to apologize for what they just did to you." He said he was embarrassed that the faculty would behave so unprofessionally and try to somehow take credit for my accomplishment. He said he was mortified that the chair would use the microphone he controlled to disparage my beliefs by diverging from his scripted biography, trying to take credit for my academic success. It was quite a surreal experience.

     The life lessons I had previously learned about never giving up because others may be watching my life were magnified once again at this graduation. Except that time there were a couple of thousand people watching and listening. Without me saying a word, everyone in the audience that day knew where I stood and in whom I put my faith and trust: Jesus Christ. When the actual degrees were conferred and my name was called, the audience (not just my friends and family) gave a thunderous applause, to the visible astonishment of the faculty and name readers.

     I challenge you to stay true to your beliefs, regardless of what others may be doing, saying or thinking. God desires to bless and use those who remain wholly devoted to Him. The Bible, in Romans 5:3-5 (NKJV) says:

"We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Copyright © 2008-2015 Kerriél Bailey, Esq.

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