My Gordon Countdown is over, I'm now a college graduate, and I haven't blogged in a week because (1) I've been very busy, and (2) I'm not sure how to put my thoughts/feelings about it all into written words. So I'm not going to try. Not here, not now, at least. Suffice it to say that I'm wrestling with a bunch of changes and figuring out what the next steps are.
I spent last weekend in Memphis, TN checking out the Memphis Teacher Residency and then in Paragould, Arkansas visiting the family of a dear friend. This particular friend also happens to be a role model to me in many ways. I'm continuously humbled and inspired by her faithfulness, her ability to just walk and rest in the faith that God will keep laying out the road in front of her, and her diligence in spending time with Jesus. She's currently working her way through Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and because she mentioned about 50 million times how perfect her devotion of the day was for what she was experiencing, I decided to get myself a copy. And boy, was she right. Perrrrr-fect.
So, I thought I'd share this from this gem of a book:
"I am King of Kings and Lord of lords, dwelling in dazzlingly bright Light! I am also your Shepherd, Companion, and Friend--the One who never lets go of your hand. Worship Me in My holy Majesty; come close to Me, and rest in My Presence. You need Me both as god and as Man. Only My Incarnation on that first, long-ago Christmas could fulfill your neediness. Since I went to such extreme measures to save you from your sins, you can be assured that I will graciously give you all you need.
Nurture well your trust in Me as Savior, Lord, and Friend. I have held back nothing in My provision for you. I have even deigned to live within you! Rejoice in all that I have done for you, and My Light will shine through you in the world."
What a great reminder that Jesus first came to this earth as a sacrifice, with the intent of meeting us where we are, and fulfilling our needs. And when we take time to be still in His presence, and "nurture well our trust in Him", we can reflect into all the world the light that He shines on us.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!
I hope you enjoy this celebration of the birth of Jesus, and that you take some time out to spend with Him, so that His light may be reflected in your life.
I've been dreading writing this one. Mostly because I hate thinking about the fact that many of the people that I love and that know me best are here and will be here next semester, and while I'm excited to be finishing up, I'm also going to miss this part of Gordon the most. Especially over the past two years, I've formed friendships with a level of depth I'd never even known was possible. I'm surrounded on a daily basis by people who know me, know my heart, are willing to accept me, no matter what that entails, but yet aren't afraid to hold me accountable, and most of all, set and example for me and encourage me to be a better person and to seek the Lord more fully. Never before have I been so blessed to be in a community that spurs me on and challenges me like my friends here have.
I'm completely blessed to be living with five amazing girls right now.
This is Jae.
Kind, passionate, and a kindred spirit when it comes to organization and cleanliness. We've gotten to share life together over the past year or so, and I'll miss seeing her face on a daily basis.
This is Nicole.
A brilliant thinker with an infectious laugh. I've never met anyone who walks into a room and asks a random question like "are you talking about hair cuts?" as much as this girl does. I've also never met anyone who watches and laughs out loud to TV alone as much as she does. And I'm going to miss all of it.
This is Hannah.
I've learned this semester that whenever I have a problem, Hannah's the one to talk to. She's great at providing a voice of reason and encouragement, and although we really just got to know one another this year, I'm going to miss her terribly.
This is Lacy.
I'm not sure I can even find words to describe what this one means to me. I had a friend crush on her during our first two years at Gordon, and was thrilled when we both got into the Elijah Project. Little did I know what a sweet, compassionate, beautiful spirit this girl has.
This is Emily.
Emily is the one that puts up with living with me, and boy am I going to miss her SO much. We lived together last year and it was great, but this year, our friendship just blossomed to a whole new level. She is one of the most generous, kind-hearted, and joyful people that I know, and my life has been richly blessed to know her in the way that living with someone allows for.
This is Christine.
Christine doesn't live with me (anymore), but she is still one of my closest friends at Gordon (and also probably my most cuddly). I love this girl's heart for service and also her laid-back nature. She is a sweet, funny, honest individual and I'm going to miss having her nuzzle her way into a hug every time she sees me.
This is Cassie.
Cassie might just be my other half. Its always so refreshing to find people who are like-minded, and if there is anyone on this campus who fits that bill for me, its Cas. We bonded over making faces and eyes at each other during Elijah Project discussions gone awry, and I love her for many things, not the least of which is the intentionality with which she approaches her relationships. I know that she'll be the one to keep me updated on all the goings-on up north.
So, while these are not the only friends at Gordon that I'll miss, they are some of the ones I'll miss the most. These women bring joy to my heart and a smile to my face. I love each one and will be looking forward to visiting them and hearing about all the wonderful things they're doing.
Watch out for them, they're going to change the world.
Ok, now I'm really going to go cry a bucket of tears.
At number two on my list is something I've only just begun to truly appreciate: being able to learn in a Christian liberal arts environment. Gordon calls it "freedom within a framework of faith" and uses slogans like "Faith Seeking Understanding" to describe it, but basically what it comes down to is that the faculty, staff, and students on this campus share a common foundation and framework: our faith in Christ Jesus, but we are open and able to learn and explore things that interest us in an effort to better understand and serve in the world.
I grew up going to public school, and I wouldn't trade my experiences there for anything, but coming to a Christian college was a decision that I made pretty early on and really didn't waiver from. I wanted to see what it would be like to be in an environment like this, where everyone knew Jesus, where professors opened class in prayer. Little did I know that that wasn't even the half of it.
What I got was a reshaping of my limited worldview and the ability to grow and learn in an environment where I didn't have to be on my guard and on the defensive about my beliefs. Sure, this campus isn't free from sin, doubting, or questioning. In fact, that last one is often encouraged in an effort to help us really flesh out what our faith means. But it has given me the freedom to learn from people who share the belief that the world is fallen and broken, but that God is constantly redeeming the Creation to Himself, and that we are called to act as agents in that redemption, whether it be through design, music, medicine, ethics, sociology, or psychology.
I feel like I'm leaving Gordon a completely changed person, and I wonder how I'd be different if I was graduating from a large state university where I was just a face in the crowd. I think that Gordon has prepared me to face the world, thinking in terms of what ought to be done and how I can play a role in making the ought the reality.
Another slogan that Gordon likes to use is "preparing the people of God for the work of God", and I truly feel that, as I graduate from this wonderful institution, I am significantly more understanding of what that slogan truly means that when I first started.
The third on the list is my professors. Over the past four years, and particularly the last two, I've had the opportunity to explore and develop relationships with a bunch of great, invested, wise people that I've also had the pleasure of calling my profs. I also have the pleasure of attending church on a weekly basis with quite a few of them. These people have amazing insights into God's world and our calling as Christians. They are great at encouraging and challenging their students, and I've been humbled time and time again when a prof has taken offered me an opportunity based on what they know my interests are.
I stumbled upon this blog today. Its a compilation of posts, videos, stories, etc. from faculty at Gordon, and is definitely worth checking out.
Number four on the list is the community at Gordon. The term community has taken on a whole new meaning for me since I've been here. At it's broadest, Gordon's community is still relatively small and tight-knit; we're all here on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and though many of us fill multiple roles, we're all primarily students or educators. I've been blessed to be in community with some great people, through the Elijah Project, in my dorm my first two years, through involvement with different jobs and clubs, and now in a small little group of girls who live in Bromley 310. Those that I've fellowshipped with, laughed with, cried with, prayed with, have all contributed to an overwhelmingly positive experience for me at this school. I remember visiting during my senior year, and running into Gillies to get a drink before heading to the airport when the cashier wouldn't take our meal vouchers, and the student behind us instead paid for our drinks. That was just a glimpse at how humble, helpful, and friendly the members of this community can be.
And here's another glimpse at the Gordon community as they bustle to and from classes:
The fifth thing on this little list is chapel. At a Christian liberal-arts school, a student is likely to find some sort of chapel attendance requirement. And while said student will often grumble and complain about being required to go, or not having gone to enough, chapels, I've always secretly (and not so secretly) been in love with it. True, there are some chapels I wish I hadn't sat through, but overall, I love that our campus takes time three days a week to come together, to worship, to learn, and to seek to understand better our faith and our world.
There is something peaceful and rejuvenating about going to chapel. It never requires preparation, it just says "come as you are" and it never asks you to take homework and deadlines with you when you leave its doors. I've missed it dearly during this last semester, because every Monday and Wednesday morning, I'm off campus taking a class. And I'll certainly miss it when it is no longer an easily accessible part of my life. However, I can look back on the learning and growth that attending chapel has fostered, and be ever so grateful that, required or not, it is a part of this community.
At number six on the list is Gordon's location. I'm a big believer in the idea that everywhere is somewhere (does that make sense?). I hate when people say things like "there's nothing here"; I beg to differ. However, I do think that there are some places that have an edge over others, and Gordon's location definitely has an edge. It's settled on Boston's North Shore with quick access to really great coastal towns like Gloucester and Salem. Boston is only about 30 or 40 minutes away (and the commuter train runs only a mile or two off of campus) and we're just down the road from the beach.
I love the ocean and have never lived so close to it for such a long period before, so that is one thing that I'm going to miss dearly. Bike rides down to the water, late night star-gazing on the beach, Sunday study sessions at a hidden cove, yeah, I'll miss that.
Boston might be one of my favorite American cities. Completely walkable, rich with history, with tons of great restaurants and shops, Boston is amazing.
I always get a giddy feeling when coming back to school, for many reasons, obviously, but when driving north on 128 after coming back from a break, spotting familiar sites never fails to get me excited to be back at a great school, in a great area.
In seventh place is the Gordon College Admissions Office. I've been working as a Recruitment Intern in admissions since the beginning of my sophomore year. Working in admissions is a ton of fun, and has offered a great opportunity to grow in a position over the course of time. I love getting to connect with prospective students and talk about how great my experience at Gordon has been. Admissions has been a big part of my life the past three years, and has helped me to develop professionally and personally. Its hard to believe my time there is ending
My boss, Paul, has become a good friend, and the other counselors always bring a smile to my face. These people are not only doing great work by recruiting excellent students to join the family, but they are a joy to work with!
Please excuse me while I become a human faucet, once again.
Eighth on the list is my church, Union Congregational UCC of Magnolia, MA. I've loved getting to be a part of this community over the past year and a half. I've loved building relationships and hanging out with our pastor's wife during knitting club. I loved going to the Women's Advent gathering just last week, even though I got smoked during a gift-wrapping competition. I love that we take time each Sunday to hear and pray for the concerns of the community. Its been a joy to once again be a part of a small congregation, and to be so welcomed into it that it truly feels like home.
Excuse me while I go finish off that box of tissues Emily just bought.
Gordon traditions comes in at number 9 on the list. These include all-campus events like Golden Goose, Gordon Globes, Christmas at Gordon, and pancake dinners before the start of finals. I love these events, because these are times that all of campus comes together to celebrate and enjoy life together. Attending one of these is always sure to make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Check out this video from Golden Goose a few years ago. This act made quite a buzz, and even was featured on MTV.
Ten days to be completely present in the relationships I've built over the past few years.
Ten days of classes, papers, exams, and packing.
Ten days of being a college student.
I've been pretty absent from the blogging world for the past few weeks. I haven't had time to take many photos, and having to take them for a class has sort of sucked some of my creativity in that field out of me. And I haven't had much to say; I've been doing a lot of internal (ok, and external, in the form of venting to my roommate) processing, wrestling with the fact that in a little over a week, I'll be done. Outta here. Skeedattled. But I thought I'd leave a mark on my last ten days here by posting one thing (out of a list of many) that I'm going to miss about this place.
First off, the Elijah Project. Now, this one probably shouldn't count. In fact, that's why I placed it last: because its a bit of a stretch, not because I'll miss it least. I finished the EP last May when I moved out of Dexter House. But its still an everyday part of my Gordon experience in the fact that I'm surrounded by the people, the language, the ideas that are central to the project. The EP played a gigantic role in who I am today and the direction that my life is taking. My classmates and our instructors, the Carmers, affirmed my strengths, supported me in the midst of big, life-altering decisions, and gave me hope and inspiration. The readings that we did provided me with a new lens with which I now view the world. I get so excited when I think of the amazing things that Lacy, Jae, Emily, Willie, Cassie, Rob, Christine, Erika, Ian, Tim, Ben, Dan, and Becky will be, or already are, doing with their lives. These people are agents of change, and are poised and ready to seek God's will first and follow Him wholeheartedly.
This was the first group picture we ever took. I remember coming home from this weekend and saying "I love these people!!!" A year of living together later, I still feel the same way. :)