I’ve walked these halls.
I’ve wandered these buildings.
I’ve sat in these offices (and in some potentially unfortunate cases maybe in these same exact chairs).
I went to school here.
Nine years later: I’m back.
Once a student. Now staff.
Always a Bulldog.
So much seems the same and yet so different.
I’ve lived in this town… kind of. The brick-paved streets feel familiar as I make my way to restaurants and stores and businesses around.
Some remain. Some have changed.
And I find myself back on the same 2.7 mile path on the east side of town where I pounded the pavement training for my first half-marathon 10 years ago. And the curves are the same, the bridges bring back memories, the sunrises and sunsets still beautiful.
It’s so similar and yet so different.
This time as I ponder this “moving back” yet “staring over”, the difference hits me:
The trees have grown. It makes sense that they’re bigger now, but it takes me a while to notice.
Wide open spaces now filled in with green leaves and big brown branches.
And I realize that I, too, am the same and yet so different.
The buds that began sprouting in my life in the spring of 2010 are flowering now in 2019. And branches beginning to grow out of control have been pruned and cut back by life and loving humans placed around me. Like wear-and-tear on dorm room furniture, I have a few more scars than when I walked out of this place in a graduation cap. And in other ways I’m stronger now than I’ve ever known.
Scripture tells us that “those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.”
And I can’t help think of the tears sown on Ruth B third,
and SW Pit,
and in the very office that now has my name on the door.
What seeds were watered then that God is bringing to life here nearly a decade later?
I see them springing up all over the place.
Morning by morning,
day by day:
New mercies. New life.
New songs of joy.
In renewed passion.
In a great team.
In gifts and experiences uniquely preparing me for this work.
In 49 amazing human beings who walked on campus tonight … and many more in the days ahead.
In the chance to walk with them through this year.
In hope that maybe a decade from now they’ll find themselves looking back on these years and know without a doubt that God used this time to shape them uniquely for the calling He has on their lives.
Yes, I’ve walked these halls.
And I’m glad to walk them again.