Friday, November 1, 2013

College Reminiscings

Each year I go to the Michigan State University alumni football game.  It is a day I look forward to with great anticipation.  Three friends and I meet in the morning, we enjoy some tailgating, watch the game, and often spend the night.  Two of my friends are ones with whom I attended college.  Because we are spread out across the state, this is an opportunity for us to catch up on our lives and we truly delight in our time together.  Personally, I also glory in my time back on that beautiful campus that is so beloved to my heart.

This year, more than any other, on the drive home I found myself thinking of the why.  Why do I love that campus so much?  Why after 20 plus years does the sight of Hubbard Hall as I drive down Hagadorn Road still make my heart rate increase?  Why do the sights and sounds of the campus still make me feel such love? I feel love on that campus.

This year, more than any other, on the drive home I found myself thinking of the what.  What is it about being here and the memory of my time on this campus that fills me with such joy?  What is it about walking along the Red Cedar River that fills my heart with such peace?  I'm home.  Part of me will always feel at home there.

Five magical years were spent on that campus. Yes. Magical.  They were magical and special and like no other years before or after.  I grew up on that campus.  I floundered on that campus.  I stumbled on that campus -- literally and figuratively.  I began to discover who I was on that campus.

As I drove home this year, I found myself reflecting in a new way about my time as a student at MSU, the relationships that formed, and the experiences that I had. What made these years so special?  What made them so magical?  What made these friendships last through the years when we often don't see each other but that one time each year?  The answer I came up with may surprise you.  Or maybe it won't.  I don't know.  Maybe you can share your own thoughts with me later...

Anyway, my answer is innocence.  We shared deeply and we loved deeply.  How many evenings turned into mornings as we talked and talked and talked?  We shared the dreams and sorrows of our hearts.  We loved to the core of our beings.  Our crushes lifted us to the highest of heights and our heartbreaks fully shattered our young hearts.  There was an innocence and beauty to this time in our lives that, I believe, we get to capture just a little bit for one day each year when we get together for that football game.

As we got older and learned more and had gained further life experience, our perspectives changed, our responsibilities changed, and some of our innocence was stripped away by the harshness of life. And that is precisely why this day with these women revitalizes me in a way that little else does.  These women knew me way back when, they knew my dreams, they knew my heart.  These women knew me when I didn't know myself and they loved me. These women know the person I have become and they love me now.

Each year I go to the Michigan State University alumni football game with three dear friends of my heart.  We reflect, we reminisce, we catch up.  Throughout that day we are able to share things that we cannot share with others because there is an innocence and familiarity and trust in these friendships.  What a gift.  And no matter what the outcome of my beloved Spartans during the game, I can't help but to feel when I am going home that I have won.

It is important to have this time together for the sweet reminder of the beauty of our young years together. And, for just a few moments, we can once again let down all those walls and barriers and just revel in the innocence and purity of these friendships with which we have been blessed.  And maybe, just maybe, with that yearly reminder of how beautiful that innocence truly is, I will allow it to flow into my grown up life and relationships.  What do you think?  Will you join me just for a moment?

Not exactly the best video, but the song suits this blog.  For Just a Moment (from St. Elmo's Fire) by David Foster: