COLUMN: Recent events inspire, teach lessons of life

Normally I write in this space of chapters and letters. I encourage those in greek organizations to make themselves better and strive to reach their full potential. I motivate, I persuade, but I rarely inspire. Today, folks, is one of those inspiring stories.

On Friday afternoon, I came to the realization of just what courage is. I finally understand what it means to be accountable for your actions and to face the ups and downs of life with great vigor and hopeful optimism. This wake-up call, if you will, came in a beautiful baby girl named Grace Elizabeth, or Gracie, as her mother affectionately refers her to.

There are two people who have taken the road less traveled. Their names are Michael and Courtney. Michael is one of my brothers, Courtney one of my friends, and I am so happy for Gracie that she can grow up with such strong people.

I'm sure many of you who read my column may think that it was a tough choice, but if you know Mike and Courtney, you know just how easy it really was. Michael was set to graduate in May 2002, and he is still on track to do just that. There are few people who have as much drive as Michael, and I believe he summed up his motivation well, "Gracie just motivates me even more to go out there and be successful."

As for Courtney, she will be back in classes next semester, getting her own degree and making herself all that she ever imagined. They both will leave their mark on the world, and be the best role models, best friends and best examples to their newborn daughter teaching her to never listen to critics, to never stop trying and to never give up.

You may wonder what the heck this has to do with greek life. Well, as I said, Michael was greek, and so was Courtney, and they both have lived their rituals through this ordeal of being the best people they can be. You see, I think it has finally dawned on many of us associated with the two just how quickly things can change. In a little over a year, Michael and Courtney went from dating, to married, to married with children; and I just can't think of another pair who would have risen to the challenge as Michael and Courtney have.

Is it fate? Destiny? A higher calling? Well, I think we will all be anxiously waiting as little Gracie grows up. Of course, Michael has already given little Gracie a good tidbit of advice. As one of my good fiends and I visited, we heard him softly whisper to her, "Stay away from frat guys, I know how they work."

Well, Michael, if Gracie can find her a "frat guy" that is anything like her daddy, or grow up to be sorority girl that is anything like her momma, then she will be better off than many people ever are.

Best of luck to you guys, and may God bless your early Christmas present

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