A few weekends ago I was in Lynchburg, VA visiting my friends from the university I recently graduated from in December. It was such a fantastic weekend in many aspects, but in one aspect in particular it was actually quite healing.
I left school in December with a music degree and a beard. I didn’t know in particular what I was going to do as far as a job was concerned or where I was going to end up, so this left me with a lot questions: Do I move back home to find a job? Do I stay at school and get a job just to get by? Should I hang out with my friends for another semester? Do I travel the world?
I was quite torn over all of this because I really love my friends and the relationships that had shaped me into who I am. I loved the lower-level income housing I was living in with Jeff and all of the bugs flying in our windows and the stupid heater that kept us up all night with its terribly loud noises. I loved going to IHOP without reservation at 3 in the morning. It was perfect, to be honest. Why would I want to move away from all of this?
I didn’t have a direct answer, but I knew somewhere deep inside that I couldn’t stay. I couldn’t live in the past. I resolved that I would not be that guy who stayed around college forever after he graduated. Somehow I knew that I had to move on, but I didn’t quite know why. Even though I knew that staying at school and living around my friends would have been much more fun, it was clear to me that I had to move on to something new. A new season. New experiences. At the time I could not have articulated where this thought originated, but being back at school that weekend gave me a bit of clarity that I could not have had unless I would have gone away…
So I moved home, got a temporary job with a cubicle (of all things) so I could save some money, and bought a ticket to London so I could backpack across Europe for a few months. It hasn’t been as "fun" living at home as it was living at college, but it has been good. I love living with my parents. There is so much wisdom to be gained from them and honestly there is a friendship to be developed. It’s odd how your parents don’t become your friends until you mature a bit. And outside the house, new relationships are forming. New experiences are happening. A new season has come.
God designed change into us, even into our souls. He designed life so it would progress and continue to move. I don’t think He designed us to stay stagnant. I understand that I’m only 22 years old, and I haven’t experienced all that much, but it’s quite true that the more I get a glimpse into how He made things to be, the more I am amazed at the intricacies of it all.
All of us want to hold on to the good things of the past, don’t we? It seems that we always want things to be how they used to be. Sometimes I hear people talk of when their church was young and new and how they wish it could be how it used to be. Men live out their college football careers through their sons. Or adults talk of how college was the best time of their lives and how they’d give anything to go back to those days. When they tell me that I often think what a terrible way to live. I agree that college was a fantastic time of life. In college you are so free and you’re living in this huge community of like-minded people who are the same age you are with all of these ideologies of how the world could be a better place … but you can’t hold on to the past. That time is gone and new things are coming. Yes, you can hold on to relationships and further them, but things can’t always be how they used to be; but they can be better.
Because living in the past isn’t really living, is it?
Being at school this weekend made me realize that I loved school, I love my friends and life is now going to go in new directions. There will be new adventures to take. Sure times will not be the same, and change is sometimes hard to deal with, but I really do believe that this is the way we were designed to be. To move and progress. I know that change isn’t always easy, and I don’t think it was created to be. But growth doesn’t usually come out of "easy", at least in my experience.
I want to enjoy the past and embrace the future. I don’t want to be 40 years old and talking about how I wish I were still in college. I want to be 40 and be able to tell a younger kid how great life was in college, how great life was after college, and how great life will be after 40. I refuse to stop living. I refuse to think that college was the best time of my life.
I don’t presume to understand God much at all, but He has given us small insights through examples He used in the scriptures. There are multiple times where He tells some one to pack up and leave. Sometimes they fight Him, and typically the journey He takes them on is one filled with all sorts of challenges and trials, but when He moves someone it’s always good, isn’t it? Maybe that’s what He’s doing with me. Please don’t get me wrong in thinking that I am comparing myself to someone like Abraham or Moses. All I’m saying is that when God moves people, moves us, that He tends to go with those He moves, and I find excitement in a journey that God is a part of.