when worlds collide

I have plenty more blogs to write about Scotland and travels, but since I am BACK at Erskine now (welcome to the class of 2017!), I want to write about my first time back at Erskine since I returned from Scotland. [Note: unless otherwise stated, all photos in this post are by The Mondays Photography, LLC.]

My roommate from freshman year, Megan, married her high school sweetheart on 13 July and I was blessed to be a part of the day as a bridesmaid.  Megan lives in Honea Path, about 15 minutes from Due West, so when I came up for the rehearsal dinner and wedding, I stayed at Erskine.  [Fun fact: Erskine has guest rooms for you to stay in when you’re visiting! They are quite inexpensive, too.]

My guest for the wedding was none other than my academic dad, Lawrence (yes, the Belgian one).  He was in Miami for the summer doing research at a university and flew up to Charleston to visit me for a long weekend.  He got to meet my family, and I had company for my first time driving to Erskine in my new car.

Lawrence and I danced a lot at the reception: no surprise there.

Lawrence and I danced a lot at the reception: no surprise there.

Taking a break from setting up the reception to say "cheese" for the camera.

Taking a break from setting up the reception to say “cheese” for the camera. [Photo by Pepper Shrock]

When we got to town on Friday, Lawrence and I headed to Theo’s–one of two restaurants in DW–for lunch with my favourite professor, Dr. Elsner.  I was so excited to see Elsner after such a long time! Our lunch turned into the three of us talking for 4 hours, until I finally looked at my watch and realised that we were late for getting ready to go to the rehearsal dinner.  Elsner and Lawrence got along so well and I really enjoyed catching up with both of them.

The rehearsal dinner was my first time seeing Megan in almost a year! I didn’t know many people there (and Lawrence knew none) but I felt right at home.  Megan and Michael, her husband, both have super friendly, close-knit families.

Friends since freshman year, and now this lovely lady is married! Guess she has a new roommate now, haha.

Friends since freshman year, and now this lovely lady is married! Guess she has a new roommate now, haha.

I caught the toss bouquet!   ...to be fair, though, I was one of the only eligible ladies there.  I'm not getting married any time soon!

I caught the toss bouquet! …to be fair, I was one of the only eligible ladies there. I’m not getting married any time soon!

The wedding was Saturday evening, so that morning I gave Lawrence a tour of Erskine.  This will be my fourth year as an Ambassador for the college, and Lawrence laughed at me a few times because I was slipping into Ambassador mode on the tour.  He really enjoyed the campus, though, and seeing all of the places that I would tell him about when we were in St Andrews.  At one point we were sitting on the swing outside of Moffatt Dining Hall and Lawrence remarked, “Now I understand why St Andrews was so exciting for you!”  He was referring to how quiet and rural DW is compared to St Andrews, Brussels, and Miami.  Of course, DW has a lot going for it despite its small size, and the campus and town community is some of the strongest and friendliest I have ever encountered.

Toward the end of the tour I showed him Memorial Hall and we spent about 15 minutes swing dancing on stage.  The floor in there is excellent for dancing, in case  you were wondering.  I also sang a little bit so he could get a feel for the acoustics (also great).

Megan and Michael’s wedding was the first wedding Lawrence had ever been to!  We had to get there pretty early for preparations and photos, but Lawrence was such a good sport about it.  He brought a book and read helped however he could.  Despite having to dodge some rain, it was a beautiful day with a beautiful group of people.

Michael and Megan: look at those smiles!  It was such a beautiful day and I am so glad I got to share it with them.

Michael and Megan: look at those smiles! It was such a beautiful day and I am so glad I got to share it with them.

Megan with her bridesmaids.  What a fun group of people!

Megan with her bridesmaids. What a fun group of people!

I loved getting to see such a great friend from St Andrews.  Being at Erskine with Lawrence was an almost surreal experience: it was like two worlds, or two separate lives, colliding.  It was wonderful to be able to introduce him to my families, both my actual family and some of my Erskine family.  We also ended up having an unexpected extra day together due to some airport logistics (but that wasn’t too much of a disappointment).

One last photo before I drove Lawrence to the airport. I am beyond blessed to have such a wonderful friend, and to know that friendship endures even over an ocean.

One last photo before I drove Lawrence to the airport. I am beyond blessed to have such a wonderful friend, and to know that friendship endures even over an ocean. [Photo by me]

That weekend with amazing friends was probably the highlight of my summer.  I hope to be able to introduce others to Erskine and I cannot wait to be able to see others from St Andrews in the future.  Well, back to SLA duties and creating more memories of my Erskine experience.  Today is move-in day for upperclassmen as well! So many sweet reunions to be had, and memories to be made!

Bonclarken & Baby Dinosaurs

Tomorrow is my last day working at Bonclarken for the summer.

If you do not know what Bonclarken is, then you are probably not a member of an ARP church. (Don’t worry, I think about less than 1/3 of the students at Erskine are members!) Bonclarken Conference Center is the conference center for the ARP Denomination located in East Flat Rock, NC. ARP churches and non ARP churches alike often schedule week-long or weekend retreats for relaxation and restoration in the Blue Ridge Mountains; Bonclarken hosts hundreds of groups and churches every year.

Every summer about 30 students from Erskine go up to Bonclarken as members of the summer staff, working full-time as a member of one of the departments: kitchen staff, recreation staff, housekeeping, guest services, or in the front office. Students live in buildings that are a lot like dorms, with bunk beds and roommates. When they are off work they all hang out in the lobby and do a lot of late night random things together like any good group of college students would!

This summer has been my second summer working in the front office at Bonclarken, and I must admit it has been rather fun! Another girl, Amanda, who will also be a senior this year at Erskine, has worked with me in the front office this year. We work hard greeting guests, answering the phone, and organizing mounds of documents but we also like to have a little fun when we are not working quite so hard!

One of my favorite things in the entire world is a baby dinosaur. You may have noticed that there are not too many of those walking around these days (something about a volcano or a meteor, who knows??) so I cannot have one as a pet! 😦 I try to make up for this rather sad fact by pretending that I am a baby dinosaur, and so are all of my friends. My coworkers at Bonclarken have also been rather sympathetic to my cause by giving me gifts of stuffed baby dinosaurs, water baby dinosaurs, and this week a set of plastic baby dinosaurs.

A stuffed Baby Dinosaur from Betty, her name is Desdemona :)

A stuffed Baby Dinosaur from Betty, her name is Desdemona 🙂

Of course, since my plastic baby dinosaurs were given to me by Betty (one of the sweetest people ever who works in the front office), I had to bring them to the office to play with them. This was meant to show her that I really liked her gift: everyone knows that if someone gives you a set of plastic baby dinosaurs you have to let them see you playing with them! DUH! So I brought them to the office and then hid them all over my boss’ office! Good thing Lynn has a sense of humor! When I got back from lunch they were hidden all over my desk for me to find! 🙂 The worst part about this story is everyone found all of the plastic baby dinosaurs in about five minutes, except for me who took twenty-five minutes to find them!

I feel like any workplace can be improved by some baby dinosaurs!

I feel like any workplace can be improved with some baby dinosaurs!

The funniest day was when one of my coworkers, Sheri, gave me some of the baby dinosaurs made of sponges. They were the kind that comes looking like little pills where you stick them in water and watch them grow. It is supposed to take about 4 hours for the baby dinosaurs to grow into big sized dinos that you can play with!

Well, let me tell you, my baby dinosaurs were having some trouble. It took them about an entire week to mature to full size! I put them in see through plastic cups in the center of the office during the week and encouraged all of the senior staff here to check on them as they passed through the office. They were like our little office pets, everyone who walked through the office stopped to give them a peak! And by the end of the week they were fully grown! 🙂

I was very excited, so my boss decided to pull a prank on me! She staged an escape for the baby dinosaurs making it looked they had escaped from their watery cages!! There were little water footprints walking away from the cups that led to the side of the filing cabinet, but after that there were no more clues! I had to track them down and see where she had hidden them! The whole thing was super hilarious and super fun! 🙂

We are happy to be working in the office! :)

We are happy to be working in the office! 🙂

If all of this sounds a little strange to you, if you are thinking that the office staff at Bonclarken sounds a little crazy to you, let me encourage you to direct your accusing thoughts towards the guest services staff. When they were bored this summer they all decided to capture a beetle/cockroach/bug thing and tied it to the leash. They then took turns taking the poor little thing on walks! (Leading me to come to grips with the fact that I do really work with a bunch of weirdos!)

But no one ever claimed that Erskine students are normal!

It’s a Small School

One of the things that you will find if you attend Erskine is that all of the students are very connected. You may not know somebody, but chances are you will know OF them, and at least know a little bit of basic information about almost everybody you will see on a daily basis. People have a wide variety of opinions on this, but I think it is just a fact considering that there are only about 500 students attending Erskine each school year (aka: we go to a small school!)

Students at Erskine are often willing to go great distances to help each other out. I can give you an example for this one: last year on my 21st birthday a bunch of friends and I drove a few hours to Columbia, SC to run in the USMC Mud Run. It was super fun! After about two and a half hours of running, though, we were COVERED in mud! I mean, we were swimming in pits of mud deeper than we are tall, so if we came out looking ready for a tea party people might have been a little creeped out!

I mean it... look at the mud all over us... we were SUPER GROSS!

I mean it… look at the mud all over us… we were SUPER GROSS!

I had asked one of my friends earlier in the month if we could come back to her house in Columbia to take a shower before driving 2-3 hours back to Erskine. She had agreed multiple times, so everyone thought we were all set. So we come out of this race dripping mud and freezing cold and wet and we try to call her, and she doesn’t answer. We stood shivering and dripping mud outside, waiting for her to call back, when she finally texted back about 30 minutes saying we could not come over after all. Everyone panicked… what were we going to do??? (I think it only fair to point out that this friend was not ignoring us on purpose, she was in town to take care of a sick family member and a family emergency came up with another one of her family members that same day, so she was very busy!)

Of course, none of us knew this at the time. All we knew is that we are two and a half hours away from home, cold, wet, and quite uncomfortable! To make a long story short, we ended up calling one of our friends who had graduated from Erskine the previous year and was living in an apartment in Columbia while she attended her first year of med school. She, with absolutely no notice and with finals to study for, let all seven of us smelly students come over to her apartment and take showers one by one in her bathroom. Not only that, Megan took care of us by ordering us pizza and giving us water and towels and soap to scrub all of the mud off! It was one of the sweetest 21st birthday presents a girl could have 🙂

i stole this from her Facebook profile.. so I hope she is not too mad! But this girl is seriously too beautiful for words! :)

i stole this from her Facebook profile.. so I hope she is not too mad! But this girl is seriously too beautiful for words! 🙂

Another one of my favorite memories of Erskine occurred my sophomore year, about a quarter of the way through the year. My boyfriend of about six months had just broken up with me, and as a typical college student I was lying around inconsolable because I thought my life was over… (I am known for being extremely dramatic during times of distress, but don’t feel bad for me, this is just a natural part of life that everyone must get through!) My sweet friend Leighton called me the next day to cheer me up, and invited me to come to the Erskine volleyball game with her.

So Heather, Leighton, and I went to this game when I got a random text message. It from a girl named Kristy, who had been my Orientation Staff leader during my freshmen year at Erskine. The previous year she had a great idea that she was going to surprise some of her friends, including me, by knitting them scarves (it might have been all of her freshmen during O-Staff that she was knitting for… I am not sure!) As great ideas typically go with college students, she had not been able to finish it during the busy school year and so most of us never heard about it that year.

Kristy was a softball player at Erskine :)

Kristy was a softball player at Erskine 🙂

But the next year, my sophomore year, she kept working on it! And right about 2 months into the school year she had finished and was coming to Erskine to attend a sports banquet. She texted me and wanted to know if I would be at the volleyball game, because she had a present to give me. I was a little surprised because she and I had not talked at all since she graduated, so I wasn’t sure if she remembered me. But she did! And she saw me at the game and gave me that scarf she had made and I thought I had never been happier! As an extremely over-dramatic college student, I had been so upset and thinking that no one would ever love me again (wah!) when she came out of nowhere with a handmade scarf she had been working on for months! It was probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me while I was at Erskine 🙂

The point that I am trying to make here is that I did not know either one of these sweet girls very well. Both of them were seniors during my freshmen year, and even though Megan was my SLA and Kristy was my Orientation leader, I did not get much of a chance to spend any time with either one of them. Yet both of them, during the most important of times, did something amazingly sweet and kind for me that I will remember for the rest of my life.

These are the kinds of people you meet at Erskine.

When Your Friends AREN’T Perfect

One of the best things about a small Christian school like Erskine is that the opportunity to get to know your classmates really well and make a lot of close friends. If you have even read half of one of my blog posts in your pasts, you already know this, but I am saying it again!

A great birthday party with friends in the Kennedy Basement!!

A great birthday party with friends in the Kennedy Basement!!

Before I came to college I had this idea that I would simply waltz into the dorm on the first day, arrange my dorm perfectly within a matter of minutes, and then suddenly be surrounded be hordes of close friends who wanted to know everything about me. While that somewhat fairy tale like dream is obviously quite unrealistic, it is not as far off from the truth of my first day at Erskine. No more than 5 minutes after pulling up in front of the freshmen dorms students approached the cart to help me carry all of my stuff inside, setting everything up did not take THAT long, and I did meet several new friends on that first day!

I am pretty sure that everyone reading this is familiar with the concept of soiree at Erskine: on the first night you move in the Student Christian Association hosts a big dance. All of the girls dress up and are randomly assigned a date who escorts them to dinner and (ideally) to the dance. It is a somewhat awkward affair, but for the most part a fun evening with a lot of introductions and new friends! It was on the first night that I met one of my future best friends at Erskine: I saw Tiffany across the room completely dressed up and was shocked that someone my age could be so beautiful! 🙂

Tiffany and her roommate on our first night of college! (Isn't she beautiful, though??)

Tiffany and her roommate on our first night of college! (Isn’t she beautiful, though??)

One of the main things I have learned at Erskine, however, is that having friends is not always going to be a walk in the park on a sunny day with a fresh (non dripping, of course) ice cream cone. In high school friendships are a little easier because, for the most part, they are all by choice. You hang out when you want, where you want, for as long as you want and then you get tired and go home. In college, you share a dorm with a roommate and your college friends may live just down the hall from you. Perceived control goes straight of the window within the first week of your arrival!

For the first few weeks, or even months, everything is magical. Gone are the lonely nights of old when you had nothing to do! Vanished are those times when you wish you had a friend to talk to! All you have to do is open up your hall door and walk around to see if Heather or Lolly wants to hang out. Your new friends are fun, hilarious, and spontaneous! You have never felt so happy, and you feel as if you could love of your new friends for the rest of your life.

Trying to get Lolly's attention so she would come play with us!

Trying to get Lolly’s attention so she would come play with us!

And then, unexpectedly, one of your friends does something crazy. Another says something to you cannot believe that anyone would ever say! Still another decides to ignore you when you need help, to misunderstand what you are trying to say, to do something you think no one in their right mind would ever do! A lot of this happens because of how you were all raised, in your parents’ household you were  never allowed to text while someone was talking to you and then one of your friends starts texting the entire time you are trying to talk to them! You start to wonder what kind of barn that they might have been raised in!

Rest assured most of your friends probably were not raised in barns. What many college students experience is that the people they meet at college, even their closest friends, were not raised with exactly the same set of standards and beliefs. Everyone is different, a unique person with all of their own thoughts and ideas about how things ought to be. That was certainly something I had to realize! Many of my closest friends at college are extremely different people than myself and sometimes wholly unexplainable!

One night we all decided we just HAD to have some Mexican!

One night we all decided we just HAD to have some Mexican!

The good thing about all of this is that through I have learned how to love better. It is easy to love your friends when you are spending a day in Greenville together, talking and laughing about all of your inside jokes! Especially if you do have that fresh ice cream cone! 🙂 It’s a little more difficult when it is late at night and your roommate is having a movie date when you just want to go to bed!  But learning to communicate, to talk about your similarities and differences, to open and share yourself with other people even when you realize they are not perfect is what makes the college experience all the more rewarding!

Sometimes you all just spend an evening together playing board games!

Sometimes you all just spend an evening together playing board games!

Frankfurt finale

I promise this is my last post about Germany (for a long while, at least).  Nothing against Germany.  Au contraire: I adore Germany, but I think it is time for me to finally move on.  So I conclude with a few more photos and stories of my day in Frankfurt with Anna.

After the Cathedral, we went some place a bit different.  Paulskirche (St Paul’s Church) was rebuilt after WWII and turned into a conference/meeting area and a museum of sorts.  It was almost a little sad to me to see it not being used as a church any more, but I am very glad that they rebuilt it and that the building can still be used and appreciated.  I also love the modern organ, which I feel is a nod to its history as a place of worship.  I also think they did a great job fusing the old look with a modern facelift.

Paulskirche (St Paul's Church), built in 1790.  This was the location of the first German National Assembly, where the first German Constitution was resolved (1848).  It was rebuilt in 1948 following World War II.  Now a meeting area and museum, this was the site of President John F. Kennedy's "Ich ben ein Berliner" speech.  Talk about walking in the footsteps of history!

Paulskirche (St Paul’s Church), built in 1790. This was the location of the first German National Assembly, where the first German Constitution was resolved (1848). It was rebuilt in 1948 following World War II.

Left: what the church looked like when it was first built Right: after the bombing of Frankfurt during WWII

Left: what the church looked like when it was first built
Right: after the bombing of Frankfurt during WWII

inside collage

Our next stop was a Catholic church called St. Leonhard’s.  (Has anyone else noticed that the majority of places I visited in Europe are churches? I regret nothing.)  Anna and I lit candles and spent some time praying here.  There were so many others there worshipping, too. I love seeing that!  Like so many European churches, this one is–literally–ancient.  It started as a chapel in 1219, and acquired relics from St. Leonhard in 1322.  Here are a few photos:

outside altar quiet moment

Anna and I each lit a candle here and spent a while praying. It was such a lovely, peaceful moment.  The Lord is truly present in the still, quiet moments of life!

Anna and I each lit a candle here and spent a while praying. It was such a lovely, peaceful moment. The Lord is truly present in the still, quiet moments of life!

A beautiful German prayer asking the Lord to be the light that we may walk by in the darkness of our lives.

A beautiful German prayer asking the Lord to be the light that we may walk by in the darkness of our lives.

I thought it a bit odd that there was such modern art in such an ancient cathedral, but I was also greatly drawn to it.

I thought it a bit odd that there was such modern art in such an ancient cathedral, but I was also greatly drawn to it.

Now, I am normally not a huge fan of shopping (no, really).  But Frankfurt has literally the coolest shopping mall I have ever seen in my entire life.  The Zeilgalerie is 10 stories tall with a rooftop viewpoint where you can admire the city from above.

the Zeilgalerie,by far the largest shopping centre I have ever seen.  It is 8 or 10 stories high and a rooftop terrace where you can eat in the café and admire the Frankfurt skyline.

the Zeilgalerie,by far the largest shopping centre I have ever seen.

another view of the Zeilgalerie

another view of the Zeilgalerie

I felt like I was in the Jetson’s or something: I don’t think I have ever been in so modern-looking of a building.It also boasts a ridiculously tall escalator, 4 or 5 stories tall.  Anna, bless her heart, is not fond of heights but rode it with me to the top! And then we had Chinese food. In Germany. Yep.

Here is a collage of photos I took inside Zeilgalerie.  Seriously. How cool is this? Just look.

Here is a collage of photos I took inside Zeilgalerie. Seriously. How cool is this? Just look.

We also shopped around a bit and then went to the roof.  THE ROOF.  Frankfurt is gorgeous from every view, including above.  I can find few words to say how fun it was to see, especially as the sun was beginning to set, so again I will let some pictures speak for me.

skyline

I know I just had almost the exact same picture (with me), but the sky in this photo just blows me away. This picture is not edited at all: I snapped the picture at just the right moment when the sun was peeking through the clouds the perfect way. How gorgeous is God's creation?!

I know I just had almost the exact same picture (with me), but the sky in this photo just blows me away. This picture is not edited at all: I snapped the picture at just the right moment when the sun was peeking through the clouds the perfect way. How gorgeous is God’s creation?!

My turn.

My turn.

What a beautiful German church! It doesn't look very big until you consider that those little ant-sized shapes on the ground are full size people.

What a beautiful German church! It doesn’t look very big until you consider that those little ant-sized shapes on the ground are full size people.

No visit of mine to a European city is complete without visiting the opera house.  This was our last stop on the way back to the train station.  Along the way we passed the largest book store I’ve ever seen.  Frankfurt has a habit of impressing me.  There was a university orientation activity going on, so we were around large groups of German freshers chanting and cheering and acting rather silly at times.  I wish I spoke enough German to understand what they were saying, but I’m glad they were enjoying themselves.

pretty

This is the largest book store I have ever seen in my life! I dearly wish we could have gone inside, but I would probably still be there if we had.  Anna said that they have a massive selection of English books as well.

This is the largest book store I have ever seen in my life! I dearly wish we could have gone inside, but I would probably still be there if we had. Anna said that they have a massive selection of English books as well.

where old and new meet city at sunset

the Frankfurt Opera Hosue

the Frankfurt Opera Hosue

opera house detail

I will conclude my stories of Germany with a photo of one of the people that led me there in the first place: the wonderful, beautiful Anna.  I am truly blessed to know this lady and to have had the opportunity to spend a couple of days with her.  Thank you thank you thank you for everything Anna! From meeting you and befriending you at Fort Dorchester to the postcard you sent me from the Vatican, to seeing you in Germany, you are a truly lovely sister in Christ. xx

xxx

xxx

When Your College Friends Graduate

Yesterday was one of the best days I have had in a long time, so I think that I would like to tell you all about it. After all, there is nothing better than the happy story about a happy day!

One of the strangest things that will ever happen to you occurs when your friends graduate from college. One week you are living down the hall from them, going over to their dorms every night to talk and watch movies on YouTube, and the next they are moving to Greenville and getting their own apartments and big-girl jobs. It is quite strange.

The good news I have for all of you right now is that we do not live in 50 BC. In fact, we all live in the marvelous year of 2013 and we have magical things like the US Postal System for writing each other letters, cars for visiting each other, phones for calling and texting each other, computers, Facebook, the internet, and all sorts of other means of communication. So don’t feel too depressed about the thought of your friends leaving, it is quite possible that life will go one without them!

In fact, one of the best things about your friends graduating from college is that your social life can now be filled with planning visits to your more mature friends.

Yesterday I went to Greenville to see two of my friends who have graduated from college. Since graduation (May 18) this was the fourth time I’ve seen Samantha, but actually my first time to see Heather. Needless to say, I was quite excited! My friend Jerod and I drove to Greenville to visit the condo that Heather and Samantha will be sharing for the next year.

It was a lovely day. We went to Mellow Mushroom and ate lunch on the outdoor balcony for an hour. We apparently find ourselves to be quite hilarious, because we were laughing the entire time rather loudly and causing the other outdoor guests to look at us like we were quite strange. (This is unfortunately somewhat usual for our group of friends!) We also went on a short walk through Falls Park, bought tasty treats from Spill the Beans, played Parcheesi, and spent a lovely evening talking and laughing. It was an excellent day well spent with friends! 🙂

One of my favorite things about going to Erskine is having the opportunity to meet people who will be my friends, people who accept me for who I am, yet people who also push me to grow in maturity and in my walk with the Lord. These are my friends who I love and who I can count on to have my back in almost every situation. I may only be able to attend Erskine for four years, but I will have the friends that I make for the rest of my life!

We are a crazy group of friends, but we love each other!

We are a crazy group of friends, but we love each other!

Is Erskine a Christian College?

One thing that I get asked a lot by family, friends, and random people I meet on elevators is whether Erskine is truly a “Christian College.” (I will clarify that the people asking me on elevators are usually those curious sorts of people who have first asked me where I go to school and what I major in.) Does Erskine really offer a Christian education? Do they truly have a combination of faith and academics?

My answer has always been yes.

No, Erskine is not one of those colleges where students are required to sign a statement of faith before attending their first day of class. But the overwhelming majority of the professors are Christians and actively striving to incorporate that faith into their teaching. Some professors choose to do this by getting to know their students on a personal basis and spending quality time as mentors. Others ask students to think about how what we are learning could apply to a Christian’s walk with Christ. Several of my professors have prayed in class before tests or lectures. It is my personal opinion that at a Christian college, even if you are not directly speaking about a faith related topic, you will see more fruits of the Spirit in people then you might anywhere else.

At Erskine there are many opportunities for students to get involved in discipleship. Besides the actual discipleship movement (which just started this year), we have ministries such as Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM), Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and a whole host of other large and small groups that students can be a part of.

My favorite times of Christian fellowship are when we all meet spontaneously. When my friend Sarah comes to my room and when we decide to read the Bible together. The times when I see Lolly in Java City and end up walking around campus for an hour talking and praying together. When Heather and I go on runs and pray together. When my roommate, Victoria, decides to share something in her life with me, and we pray together.

One of my most treasured memories from Erskine will always be from the night before the 2013 graduation. This was the year of the class ahead of mine, and I had been in a sort of weepy mood all day because I knew most of closest friends were going to graduate the next day. That afternoon the seniors had a whole bunch of ceremonies and classes, and that night was baccalaureate. Everybody was busy running around and doing the last things they wanted to do before graduation the next morning. (For our friend group this was packing, since none of us had bothered to pack pretty much anything in our dorms before that night!!)

Late that night, before all of us went to bed, we met outside in the memorial gardens for one last night of worship. They are some wooden benches out there and we all sat in a circle. There were somewhere between fifteen and twenty of us there that night, I am not sure how many. It was not formal at all, a bunch of seniors had just decided that they wanted to worship together on their last night of college and just invited whoever they saw throughout the day. We sat in the dark and had a hymn sing; whoever felt the spirit lead them to a song or a Bible verse would just start singing or speaking, and everyone else would join in if they wanted to. One of the boys brought his guitars and strummed a few simple chords to each of the songs that we sang.

That night was one of the most sincere nights of worship I have ever experienced in my whole life. The group who came was random, we were not all friends and not all of us knew each other. No one was in charge, and no one had written a script. We all contributed what was on our hearts and minds, and worshiped the Lord together. I think it will always be one of my favorite Erskine memories.

Heart of Worship