My friend, Claire, recently wrote a beautiful blog entitled “Where I’m from” which was not only immaculately written but also terrifically inspiring. This weekend, I am returning to my alma mater a full ten years after graduation, which in turn, sparked some thoughts about “Where I’m from (College Version)”
I am from red brick buildings with contemplative windows, which overlook stately oaks as they preside over the changing of the four seasons in their seasonal attire.
I am from corner classrooms with old-fashioned writing desks and lecture halls with AV inputs, from a computer lab in which I checked my first personal email account and a back porch where I first strummed a guitar.
I am from the thrill of her look and the pain of her sudden absence, from a hundred or so nondescript dinner dates that led to one, final, painful yet freeing phone call a few years later.
I am from all-night study sessions and sleeping through 8 am classes, from gazing into the Milky Way through a telescope and pondering Keats, “Bright Star, would I were steadfast as thou art.” I am from the atrocity and shame of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and basking in the brilliance and radiance of Nikki Giovanni, from a freshman seminar essay on Led Zeppelin and a senior thesis on British punk rock. I am from small ideas once thought to be of great importance and simple gestures now valued as true wisdom, from naiveté to nihilism to healthy skepticism to the substance of things hoped for.
I am from a recruiting class running laps around the bases, and a pledge class memorizing the founding fathers’ names and faces, and a graduating class that continually surprises and delights me with all the places they have ended up and the different spaces they occupy with gifts of time, talent, and treasure.
I am from friends named Chuckles and Stump and Leebo and BC and some other unmentionably profane nicknames, from a group of mostly harmless boys masquerading as men often with stupefying and occasionally harmful results.
I am from but by the grace of God go I, from praying in chapel and praying not to get caught and “Oh my God!” in all its various, sacred and sundry contexts.
I am from Lenoir-Rhyne College, now Lenoir-Rhyne University, and I am grateful for any light that I have seemed to give off, because such luminosity must surely be a reflection, albeit dim, of a love that burns far brighter and ever-lasting.