This morning I woke up thinking about Simpson. How could a single location come to hold so much meaning and value to me?
My husband wrote a great blog post on his reminiscing of Simpson back in January. Especially if you're a Simpson alum, it's worth a read: "Missing a Season"
I had a high school history teacher once tell our class that college was the best years of his life. Thinking that sounded strange, I had no idea what he meant. I now can fully empathize with that teacher's statement. Please understand, it's not that I would trade it back for the life I have now, because believe me, my life is pretty darn fantastic. I have experiences and joys now that I could never posses while being an undergrad. But in a sense, the same is true in reverse. There were certain joys and experiences that I didn't realize I would only posses as an undergrad.
I miss that my closest friends lived down the hall or across campus, and it took only moments or minutes for me to see them. I miss sitting in a classroom where my mind was challenged to think about concepts that were beyond anything I had ever considered before. I miss engaging in discussions with my professors and classmates over issues of theology or how our western culture of Christianity and ministry can negatively affect the other cultures that we attempt to reach. I miss being challenged to consider a faith that was different than the one I was raised with, but richer and more profound than I could have ever imagined. I miss sitting down with a Biblical text, and dissecting every word and meaning -- looking up the original Hebrew and studying the cultural context of the passage and the story of the author -- which would cause me to discover something completely new out of a passage I had read over a hundred times before. I miss reading a book that would enlighten my intellect and sharpen my faith. I miss going to chapel three times a week where when I worshipped the Lord, I could do so so freely that whether I was out loud and passionate, or reclusive and private, it didn't matter because every other student in the auditorium wanted to experience God in the same personal way. I miss dorm life. I miss dorm meetings, outings, and activities. I even miss dorm check ups where your room had to meet the clean standard of the floor RA. I miss studying with peers as well as late night worship sessions with them. And even if the food wasn't always spectacular, I miss that for three meals a day I could share eating with friends and peers around a table in a buzzing cafeteria.
When we graduated, I remember several of my friends (including myself) saying that we thrilled that we would finally be able to direct our own schedule. But frankly, sometimes I think we're worse at directing our own schedule than having someone else do it for us. I miss the daily grind. There was something comforting about knowing exactly what to expect and where I needed to be each day and what was required of me. It was satisfying to know exactly what I needed to accomplish each day, and to know that when I achieved that, I could be content with my performance for that 24 hours. I miss the routine. The predictability.
My life today is far from predictable. Life raising a toddler and dealing with pregnancy at the same time dispenses plenty of unexpected, but thrilling, turns of events. And while I used to think that real independence came after college, I'm pretty sure I had more time to myself then than I may ever have now. Aside from the fact that I'm sure I'd be totally lost if I attempted to re-enroll in Simpson classes again, that season is one that no longer fits my life... and miss though I do, I know it's not suppose to fit my life now anyway. It was a preparation ground, not a long-term lifestyle. Sometimes I hate admitting that, but it's true.
That being said, I certainly have to be grateful for the preparation... for my life today wouldn't be where it is without my time spent at Simpson. So may this be an ode to the place and season that will always hold a treasured place in my heart, and warm memories from my past... thank you, Simpson, for giving me my today!