Recently, I took my daughter – a junior in high school – to look at a college. What? When did this happen? When did this adorable little girl grow up into a beautiful young lady? When did I get old enough to be college “shopping” with my child already?
The college we went to look at was the same college that I attended when I was very close to her age. I felt so mature and grown up. I felt totally in control of the world. I felt absolute confidence to leave my parents and establish myself in a new world. But, when I look at my little girl, I don’t think she is prepared for this! She is so young! She is not ready to handle life without Momma right there guiding her. Or is she? Maybe I am not ready.
We attended a special time called College Days that is catered specifically for prospective students. The students get immersed in the college culture right off the bat! They are welcomed, an open rally and orienting them to the schedule, then off to tour and ending in the cafeteria. Let me just stop and say that the food was amazing! I mean, I was looking forward to dabbing the grease off my pizza with white napkins. I was a little disappointed that Briley won’t get to experience that! My sons are ready to go to school there just because they are excited about the cafeteria!
Since the cafeteria is night and day different, I didn’t experience the feelings there that were soon to engulf me. We watched a ball game in the gym that night. Wow. Now that brought back memories. It is kind of weird because now I am in a wheelchair, and I was not when I went to college there. I really couldn’t sit in the bleachers, but I enjoyed it just the same. That gym. The sounds of sneakers squeaking on the floor, the cheers and whistles and buzzers….it all brought back so many sweet memories of my days in school cheering and screaming like an idiot for our home team!
The next morning, we chose classes to attend. I attended a Bible class with my daughter that one of my classmates and good friend now teaches. I loved hearing him teach. I knew it was him, but there I was, transported back to my time and listening to our teacher give similar notes. We went to a chapel service and heard the same truths and heart for Christ given once again. Next, we went to hear the college choir. Oh how I LOVE singing in a choir! I loved choir. It was my favorite class. I loved watching my daughter’s eyes light up as soon as she heard them start singing. She was hooked. She wanted in that choir.
We enjoyed that trip together so much. As Briley was introduced to other young people, some were strangers to me. But others….others were children of my classmates. We are all here together on this wild cycle called life. We are transitioning into a new cycle of grown-up children. Children who have been taught and loved and invested in, and who sooner than later will leave our nest to fly their own journey.
As I hugged Pastor and Mrs. Sexton, and thought about their own life cycles, and how they have poured their lives into training young people to serve Christ, I thought of the Apostle Paul’s words when he talked about his children in the faith. I was a part of the first generations going to a new little Bible College in the hills of Tennessee. But not anymore. It has now cycled around that the first generations are returning with our young. As I see their graying hair and age creeping up on them, I know that is also a life cycle. They are watching their life being duplicated in every young person they train. I was one, and now my children may be next. That is overwhelmingly precious!
I want my life cycles to matter. How sad to reach the harvest years and have nothing to reap. I’m not totally crazy how fast this all seems to be happening, but I certainly don’t want a day of my life or my influence wasted. I pray that some day, when my children will be taking their children to look at the same places that positively influenced them, that I will make the list in their hearts.