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Monday, November 22, 2010

Long Ago. . .

Today I had a very special surprise. One of my former Religion teachers stopped by for a quick visit, to see if anyone from previous years were still around. When he opened the door and stepped into the office, I sat there for a moment in shock, sure that my eyes were deceiving me. Seconds later I was exclaiming, "Dr. Anderson!" as I shot out of my seat and gave him a huge hug. He was probably a little surprised by my exuberant greeting, but then again, probably not. He knew me from a different era and he knew a different person.

As we visited for a brief time, standing in the light drizzle and sharing all the news with his wife and daughter who were sitting in the SUV, I tried my hardest to capture the moment in my memory bank. Dear friends, from days long gone, just about unknown on the campus that now housed many new faces who would not even give them a second glance.

It wasn't long and they were leaving. They were just passing through and I was grateful I'd had a chance to say hello. But it was more than just a hello for me. . .it was a reminder of a time when I felt loved, when I felt secure, when I felt that I was heard. Dr. Anderson was always a very fair teacher, he saw things in black and white most of the time, but while he had strict guidelines in class, he also had mercy. As his student, I worked hard to earn the A grades and his respect. As a coworker, I appreciated that he would stand up for what was right and we shared a similar sense of justice.

Unfortunately, time never stays in one moment long enough. They left, others came, some returned, and then they left too. I was the only common denominator, still here. Still remembering. And now, very much alone.

There are very few who can read and understand exactly what I'm attempting to communicate with feeble words. I think this experience goes beyond my college years, however. I think it reminds me of all the times I said goodbye to those who were dear to me, as they came and went and I was left behind. Until the day I left them behind.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

He Always Understands

Today was not a good day. I will spare you the sad details, but suffice to say, when it came time to clock out, I was relieved to be going home. I stepped in the door of my tiny apartment, closed the blinds, and sat down. It took me a good hour before I finally decided to eat supper, as I tried to block out my day by catching up on emails.

With a sigh, I looked at the clock. It was a quarter to 7 and I knew that if I wanted to get a seat for the evening's concert, I would have to leave now. A visiting school was going to do a joint concert with our choir and I wanted to go and support my brother and listen to the music. I slipped in, picked the perfect seat (end of the row, very back, makes for a hasty exit), and read "What Good is God?" while I waited for the bell choir to share the first piece of the evening.

The music was excellent and as I listened to the words, my soul began to slow its frantic pace and I was calmed. A surprise, Michael was up front introducing me to everyone, and he said a lot of nice things that the crowd of faces affirmed and my weary heart was warmed. I managed to stumble out some appropriate words about myself before finding my safe seat again.

After the program ended and people began to huddle in little groups to chat or trickle out the door to hurry home through the crisp evening air, a couple of my girlfriends came over to where I was sitting and we spent some time catching up. The guys sat several rows ahead and had their own conversation, stopping every now and then to listen to us when we got particularly excited about something humorous that someone else had said. We sat and we talked, we laughed, we reminisced, and my lonely soul was comforted.

You see, today was not a good day. As I sat in my room during my 10-minute afternoon break and cried out to God how life was so unfair, sharing with Him the frustrations that were piling up faster than the first winter's snow, there was one thing that I felt the deepest. I was lonely. I missed my sister, my mom, my friends, and my former coworkers. I missed having people around who understood me and to whom I could share what was happening in my life and they would "get me." I did have people in my life who were close to me but life wasn't the same as it used to be.

This evening, as I sat with family and friends and we shared our hearts amidst the memories and the joy, as my eyes drooped slowly shut and I fought to keep them open, savouring every moment, I knew that God had heard my cry just hours earlier. He knew exactly what I needed to fill that loneliness and He provided the companionship, the listening ear, and the understanding I had been longing for. I felt accepted and loved.

As I hurried home, like the many who had left the chapel over an hour before me, with a cheered heart, I paused for a moment in my thoughts to thank my Father for the blessing He had given me. I was amazed He actually cared enough to create the special memory and I knew. . .He understood.