When I started college twelve(!) years ago, the adjustment was much, much harder than I expected. Never have I felt more alone. I had a hard time establishing deep friendships, and I remember the desolation of weeks and weeks going by without a real hug. I spent hours in the prayer chapel on the top floor of our dorm, scribbling in my journal, crying out to the Lord because I didn't have anyone else to lean on. I specifically remember begging Him to bring me just one close friend!
Today I look back on that prayer and can only shake my head in amazement. Thinking about that desperate prayer, and then reflecting on how lavishly He provided...it overwhelms. Honestly, I feel almost embarrassed at the roster of women He placed in my life during those next four years. They are beautiful. And my life is so much richer for having known each one.
All this is fresh on my mind because this past weekend was homecoming at Indiana Wesleyan University, and I had the immeasurable gift of being able to go back and spend time with a few of those dear, dear friends. (And then there are all the professors who profoundly impacted my life while I was there--next time I hope to go on a weekday to be able to visit their offices and say hello!)
Having been out of town a LOT in the last month, and asking a lot of my husband, I made this as short and quick a trip as possible. But when I found out that IWU was putting together an alumni chorale again, I didn't want to miss it this time (two years ago, I was 38 weeks pregnant with Jude and therefore couldn't go). I drove up to Marion early Saturday morning, packed in as many visits as possible, and came home last night feeling full and blessed. The gifts of the weekend are innumerable, but include...
4334. the fact that I remembered at KY mile 8, not later, that I'd left my black and white outfit for the concert hanging on my bedroom door
4335. Steve dragging the boys to our interstate exit, saving me 30 minutes
4336. being able to laugh, hard, about the irony: forgetting your dress is the quintessential chorale nightmare, and here I'd done it, for an alumni chorale event!
4337. the fact that I'd allowed so much extra time, I was still able to meet my dear friend Mollie for lunch
4338. Mollie's sweet, genuine spirit, hearing about her life, hugging her for the first time in eight years
4339. shrieks and hugs at seeing Schmamanda for the first time since her 2005 wedding
4341. his speech and his getting all choked up over the alumni and throwing a classic Profism in to boot
4342. "A Mighty Fortress is Our God"--the reality, and the privilege of singing the song with the chorale again
4344. chorale members sharing a table in Baldwin Dining Center again, and laughing until I cried
4346. the gorgeous voices of the men in the Gaither Vocal Band (and the fact that David Phelps is back with them, which I hadn't realized!)
4348. coffee at McConn with the lovely Professor(!) Dottie Hutcherson, my classmate and newspaper staff comrade
4349. my roommate, Lindsay, and her husband, Justin, not minding my arriving at their apartment at 12:30AM
4350. hours of catching up with Lindsay on Sunday morning
4351. the privilege of knowing and loving the girl Lindsay was eight years ago *and* the woman she is now
4352. lunch with the wonderful Andrews family
4353. the healing God has brought to their precious kiddos and their family
4354. curling up on the couch with Sandra for the afternoon while Kevin kept the kids occupied
4355. Sandra's sensitive, caring heart
4356. her passion and example as a mom
4357. realizing we've been friends for 17 years--the gift of knowing and being known/loving and being loved for that long
4358. safety on the drive home, not getting sleepy as I feared
4359. Elijah's joy in seeing Mama
4360. home sweet home
4361. the ability to sing
4362. anticipation of singing together with these dear friends in Heaven, with no one missing and no goodbyes
4363. getting to hear countless stories of how God is at work in my friends' lives
4364. realizing that if God never gave me another friend after college, He would still be unbelievably, extravagantly generous