Capping The Stone

This morning, very shortly after 8 AM, I walked to the front of my capstone class in a black dress and heels (red) to deliver my final presentation on my senior project. This collection of short stories has been in the making for nearly a year. I have lived with these characters and concepts for some time. It was surreal to hand over a completed manuscript to my professor and stand at the lectern for 15 minutes and explain this project I've labored over.

Many of you may know that I get very nervous about speaking publicly. My hands start to shake and my voice wavers. But today, though all of that was present, I had an opportunity to impart some of the passion I really feel about these stories, characters and questions to my peers.

I've been labeled, throughout my time at school, the romance writer of our senior class. This is mostly because I'm not afraid to write about relationships. The interactions of people, any people, fascinate me. I love discovering what makes someone tick.

A good, but recent, friend performed my introduction. She touched me when she said that in the time that she has known me, I have not stopped asking the question: "what if?" Not only did it provide a lovely segue into my pieces, which are about such a what if question, but it was wonderful to see that this was something my friend recognizes about me, as a fiction writer, and as a person.

However, in spite of all of this celebration and relief I felt this morning, I couldn't help but mourn a little as well.

This last weekend, my project advisor and his wife lost their baby, nearly a month before their due date, during surgery.

He has been a mentor to me, not only as a writer, but as a person and a Christian. This news broke my heart. My success up in front of that class today was due in no small measure to the care and attention he gave to my project. I could have done it alone, but it would certainly not have been as well-crafted.

This shadow prevented me from complete relief and triumph. While I am facing these things, my professor is facing a bitter cup.

After the presentations were finished, our capstone professor, the chair of the English department, asked us to stay and skip chapel. Instead, we were going to pray for my professor and his family.

There has perhaps never been a time when I have believed in Taylor community more than in that moment, praying out loud in a mostly empty academic building with a bunch of people who cared about one of our members.

Perhaps the best use of chapel time I can imagine.

The stone is now capped.