Every year at Commencement, the graduating class and faculty select three students—one from each degree program—to offer words of blessing and calling. Here, we’re sharing the full video and text of the speech by Heather Casimere, MA in Theology & Culture:“You Make My Feet Like the Hind’s.” You can also view the speeches from Alex Mrakovich (Master of Divinity) and Matthias Roberts (MA in Counseling Psychology).
I would not have imagined, two years ago, that I would be standing here at this podium. 22 months ago, I rolled up to a brick building on the corner of Elliott and Wall with doubt and hope mingling in my heart. I say rolled because I was coasting through life on a roller scooter. I had broken my foot two months before relocating to Seattle. The first day of graduate school can set anyone off balance, let alone one who is literally learning to balance on one foot due to a broken bone in the other. I had doubts: would I be able to make it, on one leg? Would I be able to do this work? Would the Holy Spirit actually meet me here?
As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry. It is the kindness of Jesus which leads us to repentance. It is the fire of the Holy Spirit, who in her intentional ferocity introduces us to healing through such wild means as painting and water. It is Father God, who so entirely knocks down our foundations in order to rebuild them on new ground. The three collaborate, crumbling our faulty foundations in order to set us on wide open spaces, at great heights, on suddenly steady feet.
This is the work that is done here, at this quirky, renegade seminary disguised as a counseling school. Tucked off Elliott Bay in the fog of Seattle, we do really good work. We consent to the leading of the Holy Trinity through really good work. What I’ve learned at The Seattle School is that our vulnerability strengthens other people. My vulnerability helps me to stand strong and true in myself; in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
“What I’ve learned at The Seattle School is that our vulnerability strengthens other people.”
For much of my life, I lived as a dynamic flower, timidly hiding the beauty of her petals. This community of vulnerability and lament helped me to realize that though I had been pummeled, battered by wind and waves, attacked by enemy invaders—I was beautiful. Despite the wounds I had experienced and the scars I had carried as a result, I was resilient. I was already tenacious, but given this new opportunity to explore my belovedness, I soon realized that I wanted to grow more than I wanted to remain in hiding. The kindness of Jesus had met me in my brokenness, the relentless Holy Spirit had swept me up in her winds and delivered me to the throne room of Father God. I no longer wanted to hide. I wanted to bloom. I wanted to shine.
In its aggravating, challenging, transformative way, Seattle has led me through a process of learning to do just that. Through entering into the vulnerability of exposing inner pain in community, I find myself transformed throughout the time I have spent with these people, in the spaces we’ve shared.
We have each walked, climbed, and fought through the good, healing work which was laid out for us. Now, it is time to celebrate! To honor each other; to bask in our accomplishments; to remember the mountains we have climbed and the One(s) who have carried us to their summits. It’s time to gaze out at the view from where we stand, soundly, on the high places.
As we move forward into the next season of our lives, the challenge I present is this:
“Do not run from the fear that stands between you and what you have been called to do; Run at it. Your freedom, and the freedom of those you fight for, is on the other side of that fear. You need not be afraid, for They are with you. The Trinity goes before you…all that’s left to do is run. Run fiercely, and let the glory of God be revealed through you. As you do, break out into an explosive grin…for you have done it! You have left behind the fear, and stepped out into His glorious light. Is it not truly glorious?”
For this honor, I thank you.