Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Where's my blankie?

“It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between that we fear. [...] It's like being between trapezes. It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to.” - Marylin Ferguson

Have you ever fallen asleep during a car, plane, or bus trip, then awoken once you reached your destination? You awaken to discover you missed a huge chunk of the journey and, disoriented and groggy, must face a new place with different people and surroundings. That's the feeling I have now. I was so busy with the days immediately in front of me that I lost track of the passing of time. Now I've suddenly become aware of the fact that I have reached the end of my college career and have to go forth from this place. With so little time left, things seem to be running in fast forward and I'm trying to cram as much time with friends as possible into my remaining days while balancing packing and studying for my last two finals.

I know it sounds cliche, but it really is true that it isn't until we lose something that we truly appreciate it. In becoming comfortable with Columbia and Mizzou, I had lost track of the unique feel of the city and the campus. In spending time with people every day, the love I have for my friends here was overlooked. I love my lifestyle here. But I know that I can stay in touch with people and visit, so leaving isn't the hardest part.

This weekend I will graduate from college. I will say goodbye to my friends and leave behind all the things that have become my sources of security over the last four years. Furthermore, I have to return to being a nomad, with my belongings packed in boxes and left behind, only to be sorted and transported again in three months. For a few months, I will be without a social network, without most of my belongings, and without a concrete vision of the future. Then, in the fall, I'll go to a new place, where I'll have to start all over again with forming relationships and building a home.

I am really looking forward to Emory. It's a great school, I love the academic programs, I enjoy the feel of the campus, and Atlanta is a great city. While I'm frightened of starting over again, I've done it before and I know that I'll be alright.

So what's the problem? I hate being stuck in between. I hate saying goodbye to the people here and letting go of the security of my second home. I hate not being able to build connections at Emory yet. I feel incredibly disconnected and, like Ms. Ferguson says above, like I have nothing to hold onto. This is one of those times when every devotional book tells you to trust in God, but, while that helps, it would still be nice to have something more tangible than that. It would be easier if I didn't have to walk through this desert without a person by my side. For now, though, Howard the Bear will have to do.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


*When a book is published, the author has the opportunity to include acknowledgements of people who have helped in the making of the book or the author's life. I may never be a published author, but I'm about to complete something that took a lot of work and thought and time, and there have been people and groups that have helped and supported along the way. This entry is my way of recognizing them.*

First, and probably most importantly, I want to thank my family. They made college possible financially, logistically, and emotionally. They paid, edited, organized, drove, moved boxes, listened, and contributed in so many other ways that I can't even begin to list them here. For all your support and help, thanks.

Second, and the first people I really encountered at college, the people of FARC. When I moved to college, I went 8 hours away from my family to a place where I didn't know a single person. FARC became my home away from home. Over the years, the students who lived in FARC became my friends, challenged my thoughs and beliefs through conversations and lifestyles, worked by my side, shared food with me, helped me study, taught me to laugh, love, and appreciate, and stretched and molded me into a more mature, confident, and open-minded person than I had ever been before. Thanks.

Third, I must mention the people of the Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry. I was nervous and lonely when I walked up the stairs to the Wesley Center the first time, but once there, I never felt out of place again. Rev. Mike and several generations of Peer Ministers guided my spiritual growth and facilitated mission and fellowship opportunities. The students who took part in mission trips, Midweeks, Sunday Suppers, WOWs, and Bible Studies became my friends. Thanks for everything. I love you guys.

Next, I want to recognize all the professsors, administrators, and school staff that made the campus less formidable for me. Professors challenged me to work harder and think more deeply and broadly. Residential Life staff like Kris, Ashley A., Chris C., and Ben W. gave me opportunities to work and develop skills while encouraging me to be my best. The staff of the Student Success Center and Learning Center, including Irene, Alice, Deb, Bina, and Terri welcomed me and made it possible for me to teach other students.

Furthermore (sorry, I'm running out of transition words!), I want to thank the random folks I've encountered on campus, in classes, in other student organizations, and through friends that have shared strange, terrible, and amazing experiences with me. There are too many to list you individually, but you know who you are.

While most of these people are in Missouri, I also need to thank the wonderful people of my hometown who have supported me from across the country. Whether through phone calls, e-mails, or kind words when I'm at home, you have made it possible for me to be brave and go beyond my comfort zone in the knowledge that I'd have a welcoming home to which to return. So, thank you to my friends from home, whether from high school, through my family, through the church, or through the community at large.

And speaking of church, I have to thank all of my guides in the ministry process. I have finally been named a certified candidate for United Methodist Ministry, and I could never have done it without you. Sarah, you amaze and inspire me daily. Wayne, thanks for your care, guidance, and support. Mike, thanks for challenging me and giving me opportunities to serve.

There are inevitably many important people who have been left out of this list. For everyone else who has supported me, challenged me, helped me to complete my degree, and transformed me into the person I am today, thank you. I hope I will someday be able to do as much for you as all of you have done for me.