Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Campus Visit, and a Lesson About Time

At the end of March, Greg and I took the kids to visit our families back in Arkansas and Missouri.  On the way down, we made a spontaneous decision to visit our college campus and see how the place is faring.  And even though we only spent a couple hours there as we passed through northern Arkansas, in a way, it was the best part of the trip.

Many things have changed at WBC since we graduated in 2004.  Though we didn't get to go by our old apartment, or visit our gloriously gross old dorm rooms, being back on campus still felt like coming home.  We toured the newly built chapel and walked through the rest of campus, noting the things that had changed and the things that hadn't, imagining the current students as 2011 versions of ourselves, going about their day with classes and work and lunch with friends.

I'm not sure if it's the place that is so different, or if it is I who am different, and because the place is so much the same, I felt the changes so keenly.  Either way, the hours there on campus last month went too fast, and yet they felt strangely outside of time. 

Thanks to the efforts of our fabulous Alumni Affairs director, we spent the bulk of our time in the student center, at a table with three professors who spent four years in close contact with us, shaping us and teaching us.  Though there was nothing very remarkable about the chicken strips and turkey wraps on the table in front of us, that hour or so of conversation was very special.  Our teachers asked about us, about our life in Nebraska, about our church and our experiences.  They held baby Joel and played with Sophie, and told us about the changes in life at Williams and in their own families and lives. 

To an outside observer, it probably looked very normal, even mundane: Six people sitting around a table having a conversation.  But I couldn't help but regret every second as it passed, because there were too few of them to be had.  Those people we were visiting helped shape us into the people we are today.  They have a claim on us, and we have a responsibility to them, in a way; a responsibility to let them see the fruits of some of their labors. 

Yes, that hour in the student center made us late to our afternoon engagement, but it was well worth it.  It is the best hour I remember spending in quite a while.  It was holy time.  What a blessing.

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