It’s been rather a while since I wrote last, probably because I’ve been busy transitioning from “Spain life” back into life at Erskine—a transition that has kept my time happily filled with catch-up coffee dates, time spent getting to know freshmen I only briefly met during fall orientation, and moving back into the dorm. There certainly are things about moving back to Erskine after having been abroad that are disorienting. (For one thing, I’m “the new kid” in some ways, while the freshmen now have a semester of Erskine history under their belt for which I was absent.) Overall, though, it’s been incredibly fun to jump back into the swing of things here in good ol’ Due West. And although lots of amazing conversations and times with friends have been had since I got back, one particular incident from this evening is what I’d like to share at the moment.
You see, as much as I loved Spain and wouldn’t trade the experiences I had there for the world, I also greatly missed Erskine, in large part because the community God has blessed me with here is so very special. Honestly, it took being away from Erskine for me to realize how truly amazing it is. Not because it’s a perfect school, nor because I’m always 100% happy every day here (I mean, we live in a fallen world), but because being far from home has shown me what an incredible blessing it is to be surrounded by so many encouraging friends who are all came to Erskine for the same reasons I did. Now, don’t get me wrong—there is quite a lot of ideological diversity on Erskine’s campus; and that’s a good thing! There’s a great contrast, however, between finding a handful of Christian friends in Spain and, at Erskine, being surrounded by a vast number of like-minded friends who challenge me, encourage me, and support me.
This evening, for example, I was wrestling inwardly with a bit of an existential crisis regarding my future calling (a crisis I would imagine not a few college students have experienced right around this time in their educational career). I’ve always thought this was the vocation God was calling me to, but now I don’t even know…and maybe this isn’t what I’m meant to do for reasons x, y, z…but if it’s not, then what IS He calling me to? Etc., etc. Like a badly authored bit of stream of consciousness writing, these thoughts were racing through my head as I walked into my dorm a few hours ago to find an unsuspecting friend on sitting at the desk on lobby duty. Since I’m usually terrible at keeping whatever thoughts are consuming me bottled up, some of the aforementioned stream of incoherent thoughts and questions began to spill out.
So what did my friend—who happens to be a kind and insightful psychology major—do? She had me sit down and talk through my life plans and goals with her. And of course, since I’m at Erskine, I can already predict that this was one in a long series of conversations which I’ll doubtless have with various friends as I process and they advise, direct, and ask helpful questions. The simple fact that there are a large number of wise, well-adjusted, and caring individuals who will all listen as I babble and give me solid, Biblical advice in response is just a mind-boggling blessing. Living on a campus surrounded by friends who challenge, encourage, and care for me every day is such a delight. College is indeed a unique season of life. And like any other part of life, college is also largely what one makes of it. Erskine just happens to be an especially wonderful place in which to do that. “We always thank God for all of you…We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~1 Thessalonians 1:2-3.