I haven’t posted anything really substantial in about… three weeks, roughly. And believe me, the guilt is hanging over me about that. I do have five half-finished posts that I fully intend to finish in the near future, but for now, I feel the need to recap this back-to-campus weekend.
First of all, I must say that college students are miracle workers.
Who else is capable of fitting their entire life into a few pieces of luggage? (Sadly, mine was four pounds overweight… only four, but enough to saddle me with a fee. I do still feel a sense of accomplishment, however, in eliminating about 40 pounds of worldly possessions since my flight home in June.)
But anyway, on the flight, I ended up sitting next to a man who has been, of all things, a magazine editor for twenty years! As soon as I learned that, I was glad I was dressed decently and resolved always to fly wearing an outfit that could make a good impression with any potential employers I might happen to bump into. He and I talked shop until well after take-off, comparing editing books and magazines (since I was fresh out of a two-month book publishing internship), talking about the future of printed publications, and jokingly lamenting the surprising lack of raw talent in most writers (but that, we acknowledged, is what keeps editors in a job).
After the flight, the same man tracked me down in the baggage claim to offer me his business card. “If you’re ever looking for some experience,” he said, “I bet I can find some pieces for you to write or do some editing on, maybe for internship credit if you need it.”
That’s a door-opener if I’ve ever seen one. And during my delayed wait to board the plane, I had just been wondering about where to find my next internship. Much though I hate cliches, God absolutely works in mysterious ways. (Oh hey, a cliche AND a rhyme, to boot!)
He reminded me of that again this morning at my cousins’ church. The sermon hadn’t interested me enough to keep my mind from wandering, and it wandered to worrying about whether or not I’ll be able to get two of my on-campus jobs back this semester, due to departmental reorganization affecting one, and my request to transfer to a different position in the other. And right then, the pastor quoted Matthew 6:27…
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Oh goodness, how I needed to hear that. I’ve heard that verse so many times that it normally bounces right off of me, but today, it stuck.
No, it penetrated. Straight to my heart.
Maybe because I have done ridiculous amounts of worrying in the last few years. I don’t like worrying, but I do. Constantly. I learned today that stress releases a chemical called cortisol into the bloodstream, which can wreak havoc on the internal organs. I wouldn’t be surprised if that turns out to be the cause of my medical issues. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? My worrying might have actually taken some hours from my life. Maybe it’s that oh-so-very practical, literal application of that verse that caused it to have such a profound impact on me today.
(A sidenote… I learned this summer that one thing editors hate is the usage of “impact” as a verb. Apparently, despite how commonly it’s used that way, it’s gravely incorrect. I’m very conscious of that now, despite my instincts to succumb to that trap.)
But back to moving in, which has come with more entertaining anecdotes this year than in years past.
At the end of last semester, I left my ID card with a friend who was on campus longer than I was and was out of meals on her plan for the rest of the week. I had plenty of meals leftover, which wouldn’t roll over to the fall semester, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to let some of them actually be used. Since she lives near campus, we planned for her to leave the ID in my mailbox a few days before my return.
When I got here, however, I realized I could not for the life of me remember my mailbox combination. I tried several times, hoping that muscle memory would guide me to spin the dial to the right numbers.
So I called my roommate, who was conveniently here on campus already finishing up a Bible class for transfer students, and asked her to look up my combination. But then I hit obstacle number two: I couldn’t remember the password for the account with all my housing and address information. Thankfully, my roomie was kind enough to come open the door to get into the dorm building for me on multiple occasions. And it turns out that the girl who has my ID had forgotten to put it in my mailbox after all, so I actually ended up saving myself the hassle of going crazy wondering where it was had I actually remembered my combination.
The process of moving in to my room was a whole new adventure in and of itself. My first thought when I walked in was that the room was adorable, because Hannah spent the week going all out decorating it. My second thought was wondering where on earth all my stuff could even possibly fit. The room has (I’m pretty sure) significantly less storage space than my rooms the last two years, so I panicked inwardly first, and then sunk into despair, which turned into apathy, which resulted in an unreasonably slow unpacking pace.
After a total of a little more than 6 hours, though, I finally managed to squeeze my storage bins and suitcases (the items Hannah and I were most concerned about finding room for) under my bed with zero room to spare. And I say again, college students are miracle workers. I’m half convinced that Mary Poppins was in the room helping direct things into their appropriate drawers and shelves and crannies.
The victory was not without its tragedies, however. The first (and lesser of the two) was my lava lamp. I somehow forgot momentarily that the base and the glass bottle that contains the lava are not attached, and when I unthinkingly grabbed the base, the bottle failed to follow. The damage could have been much worse; I was afraid it would break all over the floor, but it somehow survived. But the metal coil that produces the heat to melt the lava now stands upright instead of laying flat in an unsightly tribute to my clumsiness.
At least it still works decently, though.
The second tragedy, and the one that makes me truly sad, is that I had to mourn the loss of four of my favorite Torrey books and my binder filled with two years’ worth of notes and essays. The essays are replaceable, since they’re on the computer, but most of the notes were handwritten. The jug of distilled water that I used to water my bamboo plant apparently sprung a leak in the storage bin at some point over the summer, and those books and the binder were not only completely soaked, but covered in several layers of mold, utterly beyond salvaging.
My books by St. Augustine and Boethius are replaceable for a few dollars (although my scribblings inside them are not). The really devastating loss is my Complete Works of Plato, which will be far more pricey. Not to mention Plato seems to be applicable to virtually every book I read in Torrey and I no longer have his writings on hand as a reference. I feel almost as if I just lost a beloved childhood pet.
And… it is now 2:30am. I have to be at a leadership meeting for Torrey freshman orientation at 8:15. And between now and then, I have to write a final reflection paper for my internship (which is due tomorrow) and hopefully get some sleep. I find it amusing that in this, the year I vowed to reform my sleepless, procrastinating ways, I am beginning my very first week back exactly the way every other semester has gone. Somehow, that makes me feel more at home already.
This post is over 1,400 words. Longer than my paper needs to be. I definitely should have spent this time writing that. But this is getting me back into the swing of writing after a long dry spell. I’ve missed it. And I’m signing off while I’m in a groove.
It’s good to be back.
God is amazing.