Hello. We meet again.

I thought that I might give one last update before my crazy adventure for this summer truly begins. So first, the end of this semester:
Dang, I’m tired. But it’s a good tired, because I know that I’m finally done with this semester. No incomplete classes, no continuations into another semester, I’m truly done. I can actually take a break from rigorous academic responsibilities and enjoy more life beyond just class. It’s a nice feeling or at least it would be if I weren’t so exhausted and so busy at the same time. It’s been a whirlwind of activities and emotions for me.

I’ll start explaining the whirlwind by saying this: I really love my friends. It’s been a special time since the majority of friends I started seminary with have just graduated. We call ourselves Grice 3, because we all lived on the 3rd floor of Grice dormitory our first year here, well, sort of; I was the honorary member of G3 even though I lived on 1st floor. Or as they put it, I lived on G3, I just slept on 1st floor. It’s a deeply bittersweet moment, though, to say good-bye. I’m truly saddened to know that their time here is done, but I can only begin to imagine the great things they’ll do in their service to God and in His ministry. Their friendship has meant more to me than I think I could ever accurately write or say or even think. I promised them I would have “ugly tears” later, you know the ones where it completely messes up any sort of composure on your face and your eyes get all puffy and red… Well, right now they’re streaming down my face, and yet all the while I still have a goofy grin and a smirk. I’ve really enjoyed being able to spend this past weekend with them, soaking up us much presence with one another as we could, reminiscing about how we all met, sharing our best stories…. They actually surprised me with a gift: a journal in which they all wrote a note to me; they know me so well, their words speak strongly of the depths of our friendship and love for one another. They’ve been a true blessing in my life and I know that not all of G3 is gone, but we are few now. I know that there are great friendships that have been developing as well this past year that will also continue on to some amazing memories and stories, (#Q4K, y’all know who you are). But it is definitely a transition for me. I wish I could spend more time with them all, but the summer is fast approaching.

There’s another reason I’m looking forward to Yellowstone now. It’s a real sentimental one for me, so the tears will probably come back… Last summer, my grandmother on my mom’s side of the family passed away. She was and is a huge spiritual mentor for me. I have never met a prayer warrior as fierce as she was. She taught me a lot of what it means to be a servant of God. When I was but a wee lad of 16, she and I went on a cross-country road trip. It’s still one of my favorite memories and I still occasionally  wish to go to those places once more: to see the Great Passion Play in Arkansas, to stand on summit of Pike’s Peak, to descend into the majestic depths of Carlsbad Caverns…. all the while listening to the same Ray Stevens tape over and over again…. My grandmother was truly a great woman and there is still so much I could still learn from her legacy. I found this out this past week when I discovered, while looking for something completely different, a gift she gave me long ago for a Christmas long forgotten. It’s a book called Grandmother’s Memories (or something of the like); it allows the grandmother to write in answers to the questions in the book so that the reader may learn more about her. I began reading it for the first time. It was emotional, but nothing over-the-top…until I got to a particular page. The question was simple: What is a place you would like to visit? Her answer: Yellowstone. The place where I’ll be spending all summer worshiping God. When I read that, I had even more “ugly tears” than I thought I could have. It brings a whole new perspective to my summer. My grandmother never had the chance to go to Yellowstone, so I’ll go in her stead. And I’ll be doing one of her favorite things: worshiping God in all of His glory while surrounded by His handiwork.

But, before I can get there, before I can make the 27 hour drive, I still need to pack…and clean my room… and pack the things I was surely about to forget… because you know… it’s me were talking about here. So, friends, until next time…

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