On Monday I spent most of the morning and early afternoon visiting my Alma Mater, Clearwater Christian College. I wasn’t there to see any students in particular, because just about everyone whom I knew has long since graduated. So among the students I have faded into obscurity. My morning was spent with my dearest friends on Campus, my professors. It’s difficult, perhaps for some who have attended very large, State universities to understand why after having graduated almost 4 years ago, I would return to the college to visit my professors. But to me, these men and women were my friends and advisers for five years of my life. They saw my good grades and bad ones. They witnessed my expulsion and my graduation. So it seemed only fitting that one week from leaving the country to embark on my biggest journey since graduating that I take the time to say my goodbyes.
And I am very glad I did.
There has always been a part of me that has felt ashamed to go back to the campus. Because I know for some, perhaps all they see is that kid that got kicked out for drinking. And I think maybe others think of me as the one who stood up in Chapel and announced I was going to China for two years but didn’t actually end up going. In some ways, I suppose slinking back onto campus makes me intimately aware of my failures and shortcomings. But this past Monday was really a time of healing for me.
I spent a large portion of my day with Dr. Bob Cundiff, head of the Drama department. He saw me standing outside just before chapel and invited me to sit with him. I then sat in on 2 of his classes and he treated me to lunch in Cathcart. I was genuinely moved by his openness and honesty as he boasted about me in every class I sat in on and told me several times that he believed I have a real talent for writing dramas and plays. I also spent some time with Mr. Bob Carver; whom, it seems is always in a rush whenever I stop in to see him. But in a rush or not, he’s never too busy to talk or at the very least, listen while multitasking! 🙂 It was fantastic getting to catch up with him and share some of what I’ll be doing and hearing about how he’s been doing. The last part of my day at CCC was spent with Mrs. Anthony. This amazing and formidable woman goaded and prodded my dim carcass through every single English class I took with her. And I took MANY! She was so excited to see me and we ended up going back to her office and talking about everything I’ve been up to and what I’ll be doing in the Ukraine. But a moment I’ll never forget is when she looked at me and told me how proud she was of me. I felt as though my spirit could have lifted right off the ground and carried me away. I confessed to her that I always thought that I was never quite good enough in her classes or that I wasn’t doing as well as I should have been (which may be true). But to know that a professor that I have looked up to for so many years is proud of me… well, I left that campus with my head held high! Because I know that I have friends on that campus.
They’ve been following my progress, some following me on facebook and staying posted on what’s happening in my life. All in all, it was a very important day for me. It healed many of the faults and failures in my own mind. And reminded me that in the end, it doesn’t matter what everyone thinks of you. But what some of the people closest to you think can change so much for the better!