Tuesday, July 13, 2004

college memories

I just remembered something odd. At Biola they have this annual event where all the guys drink as much milk as they can... gallons and gallons... until they are all puking all over the place. And then you can smell it for a while on the grass where they have the milk-drinking contest. These kinds of school traditions can be so weird.

I don't know what made me think of that.

Anyway, despite these strange rituals, Biola is cool.

There are other things I remember besides boys drinking milk.

One time Dr. Reynolds stepped out of the elevator in Sutherland and said to me, "Every time these elevator doors open, I think that maybe this time I'll be in Narnia."

And Libby and I used to take Lucky Charms from the caf and eat them on her futon. I liked to steal her marshmellow bits.

And Dr. Sanders said, "It's weird to see Moothart and Palmer walking around, and they're both girls!"

Sometimes I'd babysit for the Reynolds. Let me tell you, Dr. Reynolds' kids are wicked smart.

Justin used to make origami things during Torrey sessions. At the end of the year he gave me a box of things he had made. I have 200 paper cranes hanging from the ceiling in my bedroom now, and 79 of them are ones that he made.

My roommates Sheri and Rebecca were cool people. I remember walking arm-in-arm with Sheri to the grocery store late one night and having the best sort of talk with her. And I remember lying on Becka's bed and just talking. Becka was always such a generous and kind person. Having roommates can be such a nice thing. Later Becka dated Isaac, who was another cool person at Biola. He's smart and funny. He and I used to have this inside joke about Annie Sullivan, only now I can't remember it at all. I don't remember how it got started, or why it was funny, or even what it was exactly - I just remember we'd be hanging out, and somehow everything led to Annie Sullivan somehow, and we'd laugh.

Courtney was my wonderful friend with a squishy nose. I'd go hang out in Alpha with Courtney and her roommate Amy, and we listened to Disney songs and stuff. And all of us girls used to watch The Princess Diaries a lot that year. Fun times. "Here is YOUR friendship charm; I'm taking it off, and it's going in the dirt!" "Princess! You're the most popular girl in school! Everyone wants to take your picture! Everyone wants to be your best friend!"

We were in a play that year. A musical, actually. Kinda embarassing in some ways to think about it now... I sang and danced. I always forgot which lines were mine and which were Libby's. I liked being in Theater. I liked my friends at Biola. Yeah, that was fun.

Katie and Bethany were good friends too. Katie made me a beautiful blanket. And she writes wonderful letters. Bethany seems mild-mannered at first, but she's actually one of the wittiest, funniest people I know.

We went and saw The Fellowship of the Ring, a whole bunch of us together, and at the moment when Bilbo gets all nasty and lunges for the ring on Frodo's neck, Lem screamed like a girl and threw a whole bucket of popcorn over his head, showering everyone behind him in the theater. On purpose, of course. It was so funny. Also, I tried to superglue Libby's ears that day, but it didn't really work out. I have a picture of her, with her ear all red and sore, and she's looking at me so reproachfully. I like Libby and I miss her, and it makes me sad that we're never together anymore.

All the Torrey tutors were so funny.

And first semester I was in the Sayers group, before I changed to Tolkien second semester. Everybody was so super. I wish now that I knew some of them better. Sayers and Tolkien people both, I guess. I wish I knew Laurel from Sayers better. We emailed a lot in that summer after freshman year, but then I transferred to Wheaton. And Becca... she's smart and funny. We had a Sayers girls party one night. That was fun.

I liked reading Athanasius a lot. And Augustine. Really, I liked basically everything we read except maybe Ovid. Once we were reading a play aloud and Brian stood up on the stair railing in that building where we were reading (I forget what it's called now) and towered over Dustin and we were laughing and Dustin didn't see him. Heh. And we read Homer's Odyssey aloud under the tree in the Reynolds' front yard.

And I think that through that year I learned some things... I learned a lot of facts, but then over it all and through it all and in the midst of it all, I learned to love God more.

People talked about changing the world for Christ and winning the culture back and totally changing the world, and I wanted to do that. Now, I sometimes think it's more than a little unlikely. I guess I'm a little bit cynical now; or maybe just a little bit more realistic. That year I was so romantic about it... not romantic like mushy boy-girl love, but romantic in the breathing in deeply of salt air and flinging out your arms and dancing in the sand on the beach sort of way, or singing hymns and feeling your heart swell, or reading C. S. Lewis and feeling your soul positively thrill. That kind of romantic... that's the kind of romantic I am.

So this started out with a sudden, random memory of milk-guzzling Biola boys, and turned into a lengthy memoir-sharing-session.

I liked Biola. But I'm glad I don't go there anymore. Growing up is different for everybody, you know? And maybe harder for some than for others. Figuring things out. Learning who you are and then learning to be a better person and grow in the ways God wants you to grow. We all have to live and learn. And if I had stayed at Biola, people might have made it hard for me to be able to live with my mistakes and keep becoming who God wanted me to be. I guess you could say I didn't feel like I had room to grow and change.

So I'm glad I don't go there now... but sometimes I miss the way things were and the way things could have been. Of course there are the what-ifs... what if I had stayed.

As each little chapter of my life draws to a close and a new one begins... I have to start over in a lot of ways. Biola-friends know nothing of my life at Wheaton and Gordon. Wheaton-friends know nothing of my life at Biola and Gordon. Gordon-friends know nothing of my life at Biola and Wheaton. But all of this has been a part of me, you know? And important to me. I miss so many things sometimes, but I can't explain it to anyone or tell anyone what I am feeling. In some ways, my life is a bit fragmented on a year-by-year basis, and that is difficult.

But it is okay.

My life is a journey that is ever-exciting. Biola, Wheaton, Gordon... it's all just part of a much larger story. And I think to myself...

What will tomorrow bring?

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