Memorial stones

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College is a major life-changing, life-forming experience, especially if you go away to another area of the country and you live on campus. Your entire environment changes and you are living in a community where you have no history. No one knows anything about you. The Latin phrase, tabula rasa applies here. Your life becomes a clean slate upon which you can now write anything since you are among people with whom you have no history. And whatever is written on it going forward is new news. In such a situation you can become whatever you want, but, more often than not, because you are not consciously trying to be what you are not, you end up discovering who you are. This is why college is such a valuable experience of self-realization. It is truly starting your life over. It can be formative and exciting, but it can also be lonely and frightening.

I remember feeling quite alone and homesick when I first arrived 1,500 miles away from my home in southern California to Wheaton College outside of Chicago, Illinois. That’s why I quickly went to my guitar as a source of comfort and identity. “Oh, he’s the guy who can play the guitar really well and sing.” I quickly found that became someone I could be, but also someone I could hide behind. That’s when you start the process of revealing who you are, and also discovering who you are as you do.

When you get older and look back on your life, if you were fortunate enough to have a college experience like this one, you realize there was nothing quite like it — nothing in your lifetime to equal it. So is there value in going back? Are 50-year reunions valuable for anything other than seeing people you haven’t seen in 50 years and probably will not see again on this earth? It depends.

To me, the value is in the memorial stones. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all built altars — they stacked up stones — to mark the spots where God met them in significant ways so that if they ever wondered “Did that really happen?” they could return and find the visible evidence of the fact that it did. These altars were also ways in which they could teach their children: Here is where God met me. So yes, there is value in this.

I don’t have any stacks of stones I can go back to, but I can find my chapel seat where every day my view of God and the world was enlarged and grounded, classrooms where my preconceived notions were challenged, streets where I walked and prayed, dorm rooms I argued in and sharpened my resolve as iron sharpens iron, and dining rooms where I stayed late and talked long after the meal was over and the kitchen staff was gone.

So it probably depends on what you saw and what you did there. If you floated through four years in a haze, then there probably won’t be much in this experience. If you engaged and listened, and met God anywhere during that time, there should be memorial stones everywhere. I’m expecting to find many, and I’m especially excited about finding the ones I can’t think of sitting here at my desk 1,500 miles and 50 years away.

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3 Responses to Memorial stones

  1. John A Fagliano says:

    I’m pretty sure God will have a message for you that you can share with us after the reunion. Just don’t go there with any expectations. God may reveal something surprising–something you would not have expected…

  2. Mark D Seguin says:

    I’ll forward Today’s Catch to Tracyee my Home Health Care provider, she just signed her son to live in a College dorm. They’re both excited but she has told me, she is nervous and will miss her son, yet got all excited when he asked her, Mom will you let me come home on the weekends to do my laundry? (it’s not far from where we live)

    As a joke her live in boyfriend told him – “no way!” LOL She admitted to me she had to fight back tears telling him, he would be more than welcome home every weekend…

    PS Please whisper prayer for her (I can easily see in her eyes the great amount of care she has for him & her daughter! When she talks about them) Her live in boyfriend/husband was raised Muslim, but doesn’t practice. Yet he to likes it when some times I stick up for the Muslims on Facebook. I met her from Facebook when we 1st become friend’s a lot of Christians would put her down 4 being a bad mom (she was/is a nude model) I never did and in fact stood up for a few times.

    She once asked me, Mark I know you’re a Christian, but wonder why you are not like most of them on Facebook – I just told her, your sin is no different than mine, In fact the Jesus I try to follow never told me to do that…(Judge her or anyone) But He did tell me to show you love… After being FB friend’s for a few years – when we 1st met, she helped me move to where I now live- when she left, she gave me a big hug and thanked me for that! It touched my heart!

    PS And I give a whole lot of credit for me being able to do that b/c of Pastor John, gorgeous Marti & the Catch family – B/C not too long ago, I would have easily done as a lot of the FB Christians… Oh b/c she needed some extra money my home health care owner agreed w/ me to hired her to help me twice a week – and she’s a great hard worker. The best I ever had! I’ve witnesses to her often, or better said had some great conversations w/ her too – She’s open minded and often ask me great questions! (A few from her boyfriend) Learning to not completely answer them, but ask her more question, that I got from being in Amway, LOL

    PSS Full discloser I call Tracyee my blessing & gorgeous helper… So Marti is not alone…

  3. jwfisch says:

    Sorry, Mark. I just got to this today, but I love your comments and the way you are caring for your Home Healthcare Provider. (Who’s caring for whom? It goes both ways, doesn’t it?) I sent a request to our Prayer Warriors for Traycee, her boyfriend and her kids. You are being a real light to these people Mark. Bless you! We will pray you have more opportunities to reach out in God’s love.

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