Going Back Home

On Wednesday, my dear old freshman hall had a progressive Thanksgiving dinner in the apartments. I have loved these, my girls, since way back, even before this entry more than three years ago.

Here is how we were Christmas of freshman year:

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And here is how we are Thanksgiving of senior year:

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Just look at how cute we were then and how grown we are now.

Sometimes when we sit around we like to talk about the old days on the Fam Pan: the days of parties in the bathroom and poop posters and yelling down the hall for noms and Storytime and leftover ice cream eaten in the hall-butt and doors that stayed open all the time. We like to remember and say, Man, I wish we all saw each other more. I wish we could do that again.

But the future is already coming fast towards us in a big frightening wave of built-up expectations and unpaid bills. We sometimes feel that we’re in danger of being washed out and away to sea. We want to go back. Take us back.

Nostalgia itself is comforting. We are pleased that we can remember, that we’re wise enough to look back and know that the good times were good. (Real perceptive. Well done us.) But, of course, what we really want is not to go back to the past, but for our pasts, or at least our favorite parts of them, to become our futures. We want the safe yesterdays which we loved to be transplanted to our tomorrows to do over and over again. (As if the future wasn’t its own self, as if God didn’t have plans for it too.)

It’s funny because we’ve got nostalgia all wrong. The divine point of the longing we feel is not to fill it, but to know it, to understand what it is we long for.

There is a painful gaping hole in each one of our chests and sometimes we can feel the wind whistling through it. The hole will not be filled by wading into our pasts, or even our futures, and picking through for the best bits: the late nights up with dear friends, the long exhilarating road trips, even the dripping popsicles and small sticky faces in the summertime. We can stuff all the dreams in the world into that misshapen hollow to try to fill it and yet we’d still be able to look down and see right through ourselves to the other side. Really, as far as the eye can see, the hole is not going to be filled at all. Its edges will continue to ache.

But then again, the eye can’t see very far. It is shortsighted and weak, and would be blinded by the wonder of Him for whom the heart truly longs.

Someday, we’ll go back home again, really home, to the God for whom we were made, and our shoulders and eyes will strengthen so that we’ll be able to bear the weight and the sight of the Glory that will fulfill our feeble longings.

So for now, when we remember, we must remember that.

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