May 15, 2016 marked the 132nd commencement of my alma mater, the great Morehouse College of Atlanta, Georgia. 379 young men – among them 2 Marshall Scholars, 1 Rhodes scholar, 3 Valedictorians – future doctors, lawyers, judges, engineers, entrepreneurs, entertainers, pastors, politicians, bankers and game-changers. World Changers. It could not have been a more beautiful day to celebrate the sweat equity of young people from different walks of life poised and prepared to enter the illustrious ranks of college graduate.
When the graduation had ended, a young man walked me down to ask me where I got my suit from. He complimented me on its cut and fit. I told him it was tailor-made, and he immediately dropped his head at the disappointment of what seemed to be the impossible at this stage of his young life. It was in that moment that I realized that although I have not yet reached where I’m going, I’m definitely not where I used to be.
So here’s a bit of encouragement to all the bright and broke college graduates: YOU WILL GET THERE!
Just 10-15 yrs ago I was that young man – knowing what I wanted, but not being able to attain it right away, and likely no time soon with more school and more debt on the way. But I stayed the course – a course that has included leading research studies at a top 20 medical school, directing a program for a national church with international reach, an appointment on both the highest Christian council in the world and the highest governmental HIV/AIDS advisory council in the United States, national recognition in my field, and yes, a Milanese tailor in Bangkok who calls himself “Pal” and visits the states twice a year at the service of people like me who found themselves right where people like you were not so long ago.
And yet my greatest gains have not been in my pockets (not even close), but in my understanding that although my suits have not always been tailor-made, I have always been tailor-made, I just needed to grow into the suit for which my Tailor intended for me to wear.
Life is not one size fits all – it’s a journey that’s different for everyone.
But a part of that journey is living off the rack while you grow into the life that has already been tailored to fit your specific wants and needs.
Sometimes our measurements change through losses and gains but the Tailor remains the same, and when you walk in the purpose for which you’ve been wonderfully made, others will walk you down to know your Tailor.
So when that time comes graduates, when you’ve returned to the Century Campus as an alum to celebrate the achievements of others, and you feel the footsteps of someone who has noticed the annointing over your life and just wants to know how and where they can get some, just remind them that although their suits might not fit the way they want right now, the best is yet to come! #UBtheCure #MCGrad2016 #tailormade