I love college

It’s been awhile. College is crazy awesome. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to find the time to write out a blog with so much to do all the time. But writing helps me process, and with so much happening around here, I need to let y’all know what’s going on down here in Texas.

My two prayers coming down here were for authentic community and meaningful work. They’ve been answered. God is good and he’s been absolutely rocking my world down here in Waco.

The first one was answered immediately. My roommate is an absolutely incredible person and we kind of skipped the whole awkward getting to know each other thing and jumped right from strangers to best friends. Besides Nate, we’ve got some great community going on in Penland hall.  I’ve only been here for 10 days but I love these guys. Proverbs 27:17 says that “As Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” I’ve never had a fuller picture of what that looks like than here. It looks like late night hammock sessions in the quad and a Bible study in the cafeteria every morning and talking about what we miss most about home. The community here has been incredible.

My second prayer coming down here, meaningful work, is more of a work in progress. At home, I had service outlets. I had things that I was a part of where I knew I could love on and serve people around me. The first week down here was hard because I didn’t have those outlets. I was still searching around and still am to a certain extent. But last Sunday morning I took a short walk to the I-35 overpass to visit the church under the bridge. This congregation meets every Sunday under the I-35 bridge. The congregation of about 300 people is primarily made up of poor, homeless, and marginalized members of the community. The other people there are like me and want a more authentic, primitive Sunday morning experience that looks less like a rock concert and more like a bunch of people coming together to love, support, and talk about the hope we have in Jesus together.

I instantly felt at home under that bridge. After that Sunday, I went from having no ways to connect with the community and serve to having an opportunity to do so every day. There’s work to be done at the shelter and little kids to love on and meals to serve downtown and a refrigerator box sleep out coming up. God definitely answered my prayer for meaningful work.

I’m having a lot of fun down here and things are going great. I’ll mention one hard thing though. Moving to a completely new place, it’s hard to feel known. I’ve been homesick very little here, but I miss being around people who know me, people who know what makes me tick and my hopes and fears and people who have lived life with me for the last 18 years. It’s hard since even my closest friends down here, I’ve been living around for just a little over a week, and it takes a little bit longer than that to start to “get” each other.

Being here at college, though, is such a blessing. When you look at history, I’m ridiculously blessed to live in a time where it is the norm to spend four years doing nothing but learning inside and outside of the classroom. What an incredible opportunity to develop what I’ve been given.

“black, white, brown, rich and poor, educated in the streets and in the university all worshipping the living God, which makes us one.” -Church Under the Bridge motto

You can only be loved to the extent that you are known.

Boxes

All my stuff is in boxes in the SUV. I’m not sure what’s going on in my heart right now. The goodbyes are wearing on me. You smile and say “it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later,” but you can never know that. No see you later is ever guaranteed. I’m parting ways with so many people I’ve been blessed by with hopes that they’ll remain a big part of my life, but I can’t know that. As bad as I hope and as hard as I’ll try to keep in touch with the friends I love, eighteen years is a long enough time for someone to learn that people change.

Last night my friends and I had one last little get-together. It started with a formal dinner, which featured copious amounts of delicious food and suit jackets and sweater vests purchased at local thrift stores. After dinner, all eleven of us piled into a conversion van and hit up Orange Leaf for the sole purpose of being seen in our ridiculous outfits. We followed this adventure with a dance party. The dance party was a blast, but I think it started hitting everyone then. You could see it on faces. We realized that this was it. It was almost over. We might all be back together, but it’d be as changed people, people separated by time.

Time is a weird thing. There are periods in my life when everything is moving slow. It’s the week after spring break when you realize how much time there is left until school gets out, or it’s the dog days of summer when you have what seems like an eternity to lay around at the pool with your friends. And then there’s right now. Where it’s all moving way too fast. Where I’m saying goodbyes I don’t feel ready for. Where I’m putting stuff in boxes and taking stuff off the walls that I don’t want to be moving. When time is moving fast, you start looking at seconds and minutes and hours differently.

So what do I do with these feelings? These feelings of grief and excitement and anxiousness that I have in my gut going into move-in day of my freshman year of college. The answer is joy. I’ve been called to Baylor, away from Ames, away from parents and siblings and friends, away from my Church, the park I used to go swing in, and the school I used to go to, away from the field I used to play on and the dog I used to play with and the bed I used to sleep in. Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. But joy is more powerful.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy     Psalms 63:5-7 

One of my friends tonight brought out the “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” and everyone rolled their eyes. After a second though, another friend said there’s actually a lot of good stuff in that quote. There is. The truth is that I’ve been so blessed, blessed to be living in this beautiful city in one of the most privileged places on the most privileged planet in the entire cosmos, blessed to have an incredibly loving family to miss, blessed to have close friends to miss, blessed to have parents and siblings and friends and teachers and mentors much wiser than me to talk to when I need guidance, blessed to be going off to a college that will challenge and strengthen me and form me into the man God wants me to be while having a whole lot of fun, and blessed to serve a big, loving God.

I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings, I will sing for joy.

P.S. Sorry about the run-on sentences.

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