Tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. the Boland family will be sitting in the Spec Martin Memorial Stadium for Stetson University’s 133rd Annual Commencement Exercise, watching as you walk across the stage to receive your degree in Music Education. It really does seem like only yesterday when we dropped you off at the campus to start your freshman year . . . and here we are, four years later, preparing for your graduation.
Leaving you at Stetson that first day was a mixture of joy and sadness; no matter how much a parent prepares for that day, emotions run high. Mom was staying for the parents’ weekend and Tank and I were heading back to get ready for weekend services at the Cross. As we started to walk away and the tears began to flow, you stopped me one last time and said something that I will forever hold in my heart: “Thank you, Dad!” We both knew what you were saying, and I thanked God for 18 years of countless mercies He displayed every time I messed it up.
You were our firstborn, and there were so many times I blew it as your dad while you were growing up. I was hardest on you, not just at home, but as your coach in so many sports, including karate. I think back on how many times I hurt your heart growing up, and it still breaks my heart today. I was demanding a level of obedience from you that I could not give to God myself! Often I disciplined you—not in love, but in anger—which is the antithesis of what God does for us. Yet through it all, as Romans 5:20 says, where my sin increased, His grace increased all the more. God was so gracious to protect your precious heart and to begin changing and growing me into the father He was calling me to be for you, Jenna, Katie, and Tank.
To say that Mom and I are proud of you would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions. You are the first of our four children to graduate from college. Our God has truly met your every need in Christ Jesus these past four years, and to see how He has grown your gifting and love for music brings a joy to us that is indescribable. I don’t believe we missed any of your performances, whether singing in the choir or performing in the opera . . . and I even got to watch an intramural championship flag football game!
In addition to your music education, God has given you an incredible girlfriend in Meg. We sat in the same stadium last year and watched her walk across the stage and receive her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. We can see the powerful and positive influence God has caused Meg to have in your life, both in and out of music education and performing. We have also seen the incredible impact you have had in her life and believe God has brought you both together for something truly special and God-glorifying.
And, as if it could not get any better, you are convinced that God is calling you back to Cross Community Church to put your gifts into full-time service as our Director of Music and Media. My son, as I write this my emotions are beginning to get the best of me, making it hard for me to find the right words to truly express my heart. So it is best that I let God’s Word speak for me in a way that I trust will express the depth of my love for you and my gratitude to God.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 4)
I love you, Brock!