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.