Yesterday, Ivan did it. he graduated with a master’s degree in Piano Performance, as well as an additional concentration in Music Composition. After being together for three years, I’ve realized that he’s too humble to talk about himself – in person or more recently on the blog – but I think now is the perfect time to stop and marvel at all he’s done during the past three years…and especially during these past five months.
Master’s Degree Years One and Two: Ivan transitioned into a role as a performing arts assistant at a local high school, established himself as a pano teacher and independent musician in Riverside…then proposed after I graduated from undergrad! We got married halfway through his second year, and he gave his graduate piano recital last June.
Master’s Degree Year Three: I think by now y’all are pretty familiar with all the craziness that happened last December and that has been following us ever since. But somehow, in the middle of everything Ivan managed to finish the composition portion of his degree by writing a piece for symphony orchestra, while simultaneously handling lawyers, insurance, moving to a new apartment, 4 part-time jobs…and well…me.
Earlier this semester when we were transitioning to life at home again, his typical day included wound care for me starting at 6 am (these were 30 min sessions) so he could make it to work on time, a full day of teaching, wound care again when he got home at night, taking care of administrative/legal tasks, homework, helping with showering, etc, plus waking me up two or three times in the middle of the night to stay on my medication schedule. Yikes. Thankfully we’ve definitely graduated to better things – like sleeping through the night! – but my point in sharing this little vignette is to recognize what an amazing accomplishment last night was for him, given all the extra odds he was up against. Even more amazing, however, is the fact that I have not once heard him complain about anything, no matter how tired or stressed or busy he was, or how much care I needed – not even once. I still can’t figure that one out! Well, in a way I guess I can: from a human perspective that attitude seems highly improbable if not impossible, so I know that it was a powerful expression of Christ’s Spirit shining in Ivan’s heart.
Last night was incredibly special, albeit bittersweet, for both of us. Ivan has been at CBU for seven years if you count undergrad and then three years of grad school, so it made me incredibly proud to see him finally conclude this formative chapter of his life. In addition, as a special honor for him and in recognition of all we’ve been through in the past few months, he was the first student that has ever been asked to give the benediction at graduation (a role that is usually assigned to a trustee or faculty member). Ivan’s family came down from the Bay Area and joined us yesterday for lunch before attending the evening ceremony with him. This was especially meaningful, not just because they’re his family, but also because I was not strong enough to attend the ceremony myself. It made me super happy that he would still have a “fan section” there cheering him on. And on a side note, praise God for whoever developed FaceTime! That allowed me to watch him virtually, even though I wasn’t physically present.
Wrapping things up, yesterday was a beautiful expression of where we are right now: Ivan’s success, the support of family and our CBU community, and the still-looked-for time when we will be able to do everything – including special events with thousands of people – together as a husband/wife team. Most of all, it was a strong depiction of God’s grace – the grace that has enabled Ivan, held us together, and will keep holding us together no matter what. Thank you, Lord! And Ivan, I love you. Forever, completely, and no matter what.