One Week Out

Around this time last week, I was pulling into the driveway of my parents’ house after four years of calling Messiah College “home.” It feels like I’ve been here much longer than one week (maybe because I haven’t accomplished much?). Now I’m not so sure what it will be like waiting for June 21 to roll around. [Only] 4 weeks until I head up to Boston, and there’s only so much unpacking/moving back in/repacking that I can do. I have yet to fully settle in to my old room, though I feel okay calling this place “home” again. Right now, I have a small office set up in the corner of my bedroom, with a Messiah College sweatshirt blanket over my bed, and my old books on the shelf. And finding a temporary home on top of my dresser are a pair of my baby shoes, my old retainer, a ceramic Precious Moments jewelry box, and framed photos of my 2nd grade dance recital – things I can’t really get rid of but don’t know where to put (or in the case of some of those photos, hide). In the process of putting everything in its place, I unearthed some hidden treasures from the early days of college. I found a scrapbook of college memories, which I left unfinished after sophomore year but completed during The Price is Right one afternoon. It now sits on a bookshelf next to a scrapbook full of high school memorabilia and inside jokes that no longer make any sense. The most entertaining discovery was my Faith Journey Map and notebook from Created and Called for Community. It is safe to say that I have changed since my first year at Messiah. One part of the entertainment and humor of this discovery is getting a glimpse of my first-year mindset and world view. The other part is reading Brian Smith’s margin notes and comments.

For your reading pleasure:

There were no Christian fellowship groups in elementary school that could facilitate spiritual growth, nor was there persecution that forced me to be strong in my faith. I had slipped into complacency at a time when I did not even know what the word “complacency” meant.
Wow. In 4th grade I was too busy playing with G.I. Joe to worry about stuff like this!

Over time, I learned that my opposition to art education was because of my own pride and desire for a more prestigious career. It became clear that teaching art was both something that I enjoyed and that God desired for my life.
This sounds like you’re trying to convince yourself.

Yes, Brian. I was trying to convince myself.
And I did so until October of my junior year when I finally changed my major.

It was refreshing to have such strong Christians as good friends and to see Christian kindness and faith in perfect strangers. One afternoon the random comment of a fellow student challenged not so much my faith but the sincerity of my faith, encouraging me to be intentional about reading God’s word. I thanked him later for his words, and he, practically a complete stranger, replied with even more encouragement.
Some of my friends have heard this story, not in the context of Christian faith and encouragement, but in the context of how this stranger became a crush of mine. What can I say, I’m a sucker for Bible-reading guys.

Personally, I haven’t listened to much secular music. Why listen to secular radio when every other song is sub-Christian standards? Why not listen to music whose melodies and rhythms are the same as secular, but whose lyrics are glorifying God?
Oh, how much I would have missed out on had I continued to listen exclusively to contemporary Christian music…

What was it Brian Smith said? God would be a mule if He were an animal? Or something along the lines of being a hard worker incapable of reproducing… Now I can’t remember, except it was really funny.
Oh, boy…

“Messiah College. Or Bob Jones. You pick. The choice was a fairly easy one.” – probably a Brian Smith quote

Just because I like art and I’m good at it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s my calling, does it? I like food and I’m good at eating, but I doubt God would call me to an eating ministry.
Now you’re thinking.

Good times.

What I Will Remember

Rachel posted something like this on Facebook, and encouraged others to do the same. So here’s what I will remember from each year of my time at Messiah College. What will you remember?

First Year:
– Hess Basement :)
– Wearing Chucks to the homecoming dance, and starting a personal tradition that lasted almost all four years
– An Amish Paradise? FYS, Popsicles, Witness at Dave’s house, and a field trip to Sally Esh’s house
– The Bob Jones University/Beyonce remix
– Created and Called for Community with Brian Smith
– Dictator Bowling and “The Suitor” read-aloud

Sophomore Year:
– Bittner 3rd, and the ever spacious quad
– Acclamation Ballet 2
– Bucket of chickens and Little Miss Sunshine
– Hmmm… I don’t seem to remember much from sophomore year…

Junior Year:
– Joining Res Life as part of Bittner (and SoCo) staff!
– Dressing up as a Mexican bandit for a mystery dinner
– Changing my major to Studio Art!
– Dinner Squad :)
– Staying on campus for the summer with some great friends

Senior Year:
– Skelly Staff <3
– Senior show
– Footloose!
– Men’s Volleyball, t-shirts and road trips
– Breakfast Club and Lunch Bunch
– Human Sexuality and Abnormal Psych
– Graduation, of course…

It will be interesting to reflect on my college experiences in a few years, or a few decades even. Memories come to mind easily now, and even the most obscure moments return with a trigger. But when everything stops being so fresh, what will I remember? My hope is that I will remain connected with my college friends somehow, and these memories will not be lost because our friendship will serve as living reminders of all the special moments.

The Long Ride Home

The car was packed. The door was locked. Goodbyes were said. I hit the play button on my iPod and hit the road. I left Messiah with my belongings and four years of memories. The soundtrack for my journey was a playlist I like to call “The Weepies & Friends”, which I made for Corrie a little bit ago and have been listening to lately. With each song, I realized that it was lyrically the perfect mix for this particular trip.

1. “Run” by Addison Road
This song was playing as I drove down College Avenue, past cemetery hill, toward Lisburn Road. I could feel tears coming and it was suddenly difficult to sing along. The tears never flowed, but with this song I think I realized that this was goodbye.

Stoplights, breakdown, we cry, last try
Worlds collide, time to decide
Where you want to go in this great big world
Where you want to go in this great big world
Stuck here too long in this sad song
Lost on a street, everyone has
Vanished and you’re all alone
But you don’t know where to go
Yeah you’re all alone
And you want to go home

Run just as fast as you can
Run, ’til you reach the end
Where the fallen finally land
And your world starts over again
Run

Next page, new day, finding my way
Stumble upon the strength to move on
I am not alone in this great big world
And you are not alone in this great big world

You’re free, free falling
A new beginning
This is our time

2. “Keep It There” by The Weepies

I came down on a bottle rocket
Found my heart right where I locked it
Last night like rain on chalk
It’s gone like money in my pocket

All my troubles in the rear view mirror, I know, I know
All my troubles in the rear view mirror, I know, I know
I got, I got, I got to keep them there

3. “Hologram” by Katie Herzig

Time is ticking so fast
Does anything last
Soon I will be just a part of your past
I’ll leave you with this
You hold on in blissful memories

4. “Rainy Weather Friend” by David Mead

All of these rusting souvenirs
I know you’ve always had a good heart
Whatever tales you’d lend an ear

5. “If I Ever” by Alli Rogers

I don’t have words to tell you how I’m feeling
I don’t think any language can
At times like these silence is appealing
Somehow I know you understand

And if I ever lose my hearing
If I ever lose my sight
If all my five senses leave
I know we’d be alright
Cause it seems your heart is a part of mine

So this is how it feels to be breathless
When someone walks out of the room
Stay by me, we can be timeless
Less than forever is too soon

6. “In No Time at All” by Article One

In no time at all the world could fall to pieces
In no time at all our lives could come apart
We never know where life will take us

7. “I Want to Belong to You” by Katie Herzig

I’ll stay right where I am
‘Til you come back
Don’t let me lose you
Before there’s a chance to begin

Suddenly light on my feet
With a sweet rearrange of the day
Everything’s changing

One quick exchange
It’s not the same
Kind of goodbye
Gone with a sigh

8. “Simple Life” by The Weepies

And everyday since I’ve found you
Such moments we steal
Like little thieves, we rub our hands
We hold our hearts between them.

Move on, move on
Time is accelerating.

9. “Twenty Girls Ago” by David Mead
Okay, so this one I couldn’t really connect to the lyrics directly. But there’s a general theme of reminiscing and time passing that seemed relevant.

1o. “Wish You Well” by Katie Herzig

I want to wish you well
I didn’t watch you go
Cause I suppose I don’t know how
I will remember you
Not the way you left but how you lived
And what you knew

11. “Coming Back to You” by Seth Kallen & The Reaction
Honestly, I didn’t include this song in the playlist for its lyrics. I chose it mostly because of the sweet banjo solo in the middle, and because I went to high school with the drummer.

But I’m coming back
I’m always coming back to you

12. “Hard Times” by Eastmountainsouth

Let us pause in life’s pleasures and count its many tears
While we all sup sorrow with the poor
There’s a song that will linger forever in our ears
Oh, hard times come again no more

13. “Long Ride Home” by Patty Griffin

I’ve had some time to think about you
And watch the sun set like a stone
I’ve had some time to think about you
On the long ride home

14. “Hope” by Alli Rogers

Hope, I’ll be waiting, I’ll be holding on to…
I am never knowing, so I’ll be holding on to hope

15. “My Sweet Darling” by Seth Kallen, featuring Melody Gardot

I know that fairy tales are always ending
You know that this world is meant for mending

16. “Reverie” by Randall Goodgame
My friends have loved me in so many ways over the past four years.

When I’m lost, she finds me
When I’m all tied up, she unwinds me
When I forget my name, she reminds me

17. “Spell” by Marie Digby
Just a generally beautiful song that is worth a listen.

18. “Hope Now” by Addison Road

When my life is like a storm
Rising waters all I want is the shore
You say I’ll be ok and
Make it through the rain
You are my shelter from the storm

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow

I have yet to have an emotional breakdown that lasts longer than a few beats or measures. I wonder if I am just coping extremely well with this change, or if I have not yet realized what has happened.