Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Feels like home to me"

If anyone knows me, they probably know how much I've struggled with my decision to come to Michigan. Once I got here I was pretty much stuck, because no school of any repute lets you transfer in more than two years' worth of credits, but my first semester here it was a constant question in my head as I walked around campus - what if I had made a mistake? This year, I thought I had conquered that question, for the most part. It still haunted around some days, but I had a life here, a place, friends that were like family. About two weeks ago, the lie popped up again, stronger than ever before - had I made a mistake? I thought I had come to Michigan trusting God, but maybe I had trusted myself instead. Maybe I had made a foolish, selfish decision. I had always thought of coming here as an act of faith, but for what purpose?

There's a large open space on campus that we call the Diag. It's sorta in the middle of campus, and in the middle of the Diag is a metal M embedded into the ground, put there by the class of 1953. There's a superstition that if you step on the M, you'll fail your first blue book (essay) exam. The only way to break the curse is to go streaking through the Diag at midnight or something. But once you've taken and passed your first blue book exam, you can step on the M as much as you want. I think it's a sort of coming of age for a student, after they've taken on the challenge of the university and conquered it.

The thing is, I will never step on the M. The M to me doesn't represent this school or the challenges of academics or anything to do with the school, really. It has to do with my decision to trust God, not just when I first came to Michigan, but day after day after day. It is a symbol of faith for me. And now, it's a representation of the reward that comes from that faith. Because I believe with my whole heart that God has me here with a purpose, a plan, and that He's using me here. This is home for me, more than any other place I've lived in the last four years. And I am so thankful that I am here, despite the struggle it's been.

I've journaled about it recently, and what was even cooler was that I got to share the *full* story of me and Michigan with a friend who was just asking my advice on different colleges. It was so cool, because you know that feeling you get when you're talking to someone, and you just know that what you're saying is truth? This is some of what I wrote: "I would love to know the purpose, the plan - but do I need to? The choices I've made, whether optimal or not, God has worked out for good... I can trust in that. And if I can trust in that, the choices that brought me here are neither right nor wrong - they are irrelevant. What matters is that God is using me here and now and that I am still choosing to trust Him."

I was reading the screenplay for The Big Chill for class today, and it was like a final blow to my doubt, oddly enough. The writer is Lawrence Kasdan, a University of Michigan alum. The characters all graduated from Michigan, reference their time there some, and the closing scene even takes place there. I was reading the script when one of the characters mentioned studying for a blue book exam - and I almost started crying. Because I love my school. I've never felt so much pride in being associated with an academic institution. And it's not because of Michigan at all. I love my school because I love what it has taught me about God. There's no place I'd rather be. There's no home I'd rather have.

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