Several nights ago I wandered through U of O’s campus. It was shortly after submitting my application to Western Seminary and I was about to work on the essay for George Fox (which I still haven’t finished). Having written the six-page essay for Western, I wanted to walk around a bit and recharge my mind. Having spent hours writing, rewriting, and then rewriting some more, I needed the fresh air.
As I was walking by all the old buildings, I couldn’t help but wish I was a freshman all over again. It’d be nice if I could have the chance to fix my mistakes, but that’s not why I wanted to be 19 again. And yes, it would definitely be nice to start my student loan debt all over again, but that’s not the reason, either. Seeing all the places where I used to have class reminded me of the times when those places – even Eugene itself – were all new.
I wanted the dorms, Rec Center, Mac Court, Autzen Stadium, Condon Hall (not Deady; that place is evil), and even the amphitheater to be new again. I wanted to walk into my first 200+ lecture class, write my first paper, or take my first mid-term. I wanted all the firsts because if you’re having firsts, then you’re doing something different – something new.
Being in Eugene has been fun and I’ve grown quite substantially here. There is now – and will be for some time – a sense of home here, as there is every time I return to Lincoln City. But, like my senior year of high school, I feel as though I’ve outgrown Eugene. I feel like a wayward student – searching for the next class but never finding it.
My hopeful move to Portland isn’t only to have a new experience. Eugene has plenty of places I haven’t been to (like a frisbee golf course) and things I haven’t yet done (like frisbee golf). But there isn’t the sense of an adventure. One way of describing how I feel is like when Bilbo Baggins saw the map leading to the Lonely Mountain; his eyes were filled with nothing but curiosity. And on the morning of departure, though he hesitated, he gave in to that curiosity and never regretted it.
Having applied to one school and almost to another, I am beginning to feel that excitement Bilbo felt. I know haven’t been accepted yet, but I can’t help but think of the mountains, forests, and rivers ahead of me. I can’t help but wonder and imagine what it’ll be like to write a master’s thesis or actually study for an exam (jokes…). I can’t help but imagine the types of people I’ll meet or what kind of church I’ll be a part of. Having nearly finished both applications, I am becoming more eager to head out the door.
If it turns out that I don’t get accepted to either school, I’ll be crushed. But even if that happens, it doesn’t mean that a move to Portland (or anywhere else) is out of the picture. It’ll simply mean, despite my disagreement, that seminary wasn’t part of the picture. Frankly, though, I have a good feeling about getting accepted to one or the other. Something tells me seminary is a part of the picture.
Thinking about this fall has caused me to look at what I’m doing now. Am I getting as much out of this season of life as I can before it ends or am I simply getting by, not doing anything different? Simply because this is the same old place doesn’t mean I can’t do something different or meet new people or devote more time to the friends and family I have here. Just like the promise of Christ’s return is supposed to change the way we live in the present, thinking ahead to new seasons of life ought to change the way we live the present season. When I think about how I might be married some day, I feel the need to practice the traits of a good husband now.
Eugene and U of O have been an adventure, but it is over. It sounds sad, but what would be even worse is if I tried to stay here and continue the undergraduate life. I can’t. All those memories and experiences can never be new again. In a way, I have to move somewhere else and do something else. Like seminary in Portland.
“It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out,” – Proverbs 25:2
Wander. Explore. Go where your Godly adventure calls. It is what God wants and, deep down, it is what we want, too.