My College Experience at the YMCA

How beautiful is God’s blessings.  We’re reminded of the beauty of His creation all around us.  However, sometimes in our daily life, we forget to listen to that still small voice inside us telling us that whatever we go through in this life, He is with us.  

Horseshoe Park

I didn’t go away to college, but living at the Y feels very much what I think dorm life might have been like.  I’m far from home, live in a small room, eat three meals a day in the cafeteria, and do my laundry weekly at a laundry mat.

I’m sitting in the Rustic Cafe treating myself to a soft serve ice cream while my clothes are washing.  It takes forty minutes to complete the cycle, so I have that much time to kill. 

Socializing!

I’m surrounded by college kids talking about their jobs as counselors, chatting with one another, and one of them is rapping a song about Minnesota while the others laugh.  Across the room, people are playing games and visiting.  

It’s my third week here.  Truthfully, I miss home and friends.  Friends, I miss most.  There are plenty of sweet people here, but it’s too soon to developed a close relationship with anyone.  Someone ask me today if I thought I might like to come back and do this again next year.  I don’t have an answer for that yet, but maybe by August I’ll know.

My museum buddies that I work with make me laugh.  There’s a range of personalities that make it interesting to work with them.  After I get to know them better, I’m sure they’ll make a great story to write about.  It is nice to meet people from different places that come to the museum.  One of the things we ask is, “Have you been here before?” and “Where are you from?”  Most are states near this area or Colorado, but we have had people from other countries.

I’ve journeyed back to the laundry mat; waiting for the dryers to do their thing!  Out of the nine people here, six are guys.  I’m remembering Cameron calling when he was UNT to ask about washer settings.  That seems so long ago.

When I’m finished, I’ll go back to my dorm room…ummm…cabin.  Sometimes, I’ll sit outside and ladies will come out and sit in those wonderful Adirondack chairs we have outside, or one will pass by and stop and talk.  There is a large lounge just for our group of cabins which are twenty-four rooms (six in each of four cabins).   Other times, I’ll sit inside on the bed or in my camp chair and watch Netflix movies.

Our cabins are close to the horse stables, so when the air blows from that direction, we get a scent of horse hooey, but I don’t mind.  I like walking over to visit them.  We are also close to a fire ring that people rent for cookouts.  The smell of the wood burning and watching the gathering of families or groups, reminds me how wonderful it is to belong.  An occasional word or laugh will travel on the wind and come through my windows.

Another few days have passed.  On Thursdays, there is a Vesper service in an outside chapel near my cabin. Attendance is small, but I enjoy it.  Sometimes, a deer will wander through the woods behind the pulpit.  That’s special.  One of the young Chaplin staff does a short sermon and his wife plays the guitar.  We sing two songs at the beginning and one before the Lord’s Supper.  One of the songs is usually secular.  This week it was Stand by Me.

Memories

I couldn’t help but remember those sweet moments when we used to sing that song at Convocation.  It usually choked me up with emotion as I stood with sweet friends, swaying as we sang.   I asked for prayer on Thursday to help me with this blue mood I find myself in.   Missing home….routines, family, church, smiles, and knowing friends are available to join at a moments notice.  I’m missing y’all.  The song was like a small kiss from Jesus…comforting me.

So like a freshman, I’m feeling the effects of being gone for a while, but it doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying my new experience.  I’m learning how to walk in this new space I’m occupying.  Like a college student, I know that this moment is for a short while and I am appreciating all the fun activities and growth experiences that come with this visit.

The scenery is breathtaking!  I’m navigating making new friends.  I believe that God places people in our path for a reason.  Maybe I’m here to impact their life or they…mine.   Each morning is a chance for me to show God’s love to someone.  I do fail more than I care to admit, but each day is new.

Psalm 90:14… Satisfy us in the morning with Your faithful love, so that we may shout with joy and be glad all of our days.     (HCSB)

I’m sure this sadness is temporary, just a small stumble on a long hike through this period that I’m walking.  On our last hike, we were three older ladies (52, 61, 71) with a young one (23).  Caryn was so incredibly patient as we maneuvered over rocks upwards to the three falls, not minding as we moved at a slower pace and resting as needed.  At one point, the water crossing the path was high and fast moving.  She went first and helped us by steadying us with her hand.  We’d probably have turned back without finishing the hike without her help.

My new friends

I’m not the most graceful person either.  When I didn’t lift my feet high enough and I’d hit a rock with my shoe, she’d say, “Oh boy!” because I’d stumble a bit.  That tickled me, but then I realized how much she was saying it.  I became aware of just how many times that I wasn’t picking my feet up.  Makes me wonder how might God view my sins as I stumble through this life.  How many “Oh Boys” is He saying?  How many times is He holding my hand steadying me?

2 Corinthians 12:9… But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.  (HCSB)

My laundry basket is filling up again, food at the cafeteria is getting unappetizing the more I eat there, and I’m having to remind myself to keep this tiny room organized and clean.  

However, this week, I’m asking for more prayer as I miss y’all.  I’m making plans to fill my empty moments and I’m listening for God’s words to fill my heart with thankfulness and peace as I appreciate the beauty that surrounds me.

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