Everything is different now. The way I see the light hitting the leaves in the early evening. The way I see the lady who swiftly puts my sandwich in the oven at Subway. The way I enjoy music. The way I look up at the sky. The way I listen. The way I see. Everything is different, now. Everything is clearer than before. You gave me a new pair of glasses through which to see the world.
And for that, Covenant, I thank you.
After several drafts of attempting to write the words that have been floating around aimlessly in my heart, I finally settled on this one. It still does not come close to giving the proper credit that is due to this incredible community with which the Lord has blessed me, but it’s all I’ve got.
For those who really don’t know what I’m about to say, you may think all this sounds oddly nostalgic. “Where is she going with this?” I’ll just cut to the chase, then: I will not be coming back to Covenant after Christmas. Though that statement is made with the foundational peace of the Lord which is totally surpassing my understanding, it is covered with a layer of true sadness…because I adore Covenant. I really do. I don’t think I knew quite how much until I made this decision.
After several long months filled with questions, doubts, praying, and research, I’ve decided I want to give journalism a shot, specifically photojournalism. I also want to keep doing theatre, too, so we’ll see what happens with that combination! Basically some dream jobs would be working for National Geographic or TIME Magazine, being a play critic, or being on Broadway. While none of these are very likely, they’re the direction for which I’m aiming. Unfortunately, as great as Covenant is, it simply isn’t the best or cheapest place to pursue either of these fields.
I’ve had the privilege of having a Covenant-like community around me my whole life. Growing up in a fervently Christian family, going to great churches, and attending the coolest Christian school from kindergarten to graduation, I’ve been surrounded by some insanely awesome people. Though I’ve wrestled with some doubt over the past few years, the Lord has shown me time and again that those communities were exactly where He wanted me.
But we both knew I couldn’t stay in those comfort zones forever.
Oh, I could tell you so many stories. Stories of how ever since I’ve come back to Covenant, so many messages I’ve heard have been related to the themes, “Pick up your cross and follow Me. Leave everything familiar behind. Are your actions proof of your faith? Be obedient, no matter what the cost. No matter how scary it is, following Me is so worth it.” It didn’t take long for me to get the hint...I knew I couldn’t stay.
So, I will be going to UGA in the spring. I’m still figuring out logistics here and there, but it’s actually happening… which sometimes still blows my mind. UGA is quite a different place compared to Covenant, so we’ll see what all the Lord decides to do. I have a feeling next semester is going to feel like an ice bath – painful at first, but a humbling season that is going to do some good, much needed hard work in the deepest area of my heart.
When I came back to Covenant, I fell in love with the place all over again. I already adored the people, but I began to see them and even the physical mountain with fresh eyes. The sky became even more vast, the trees more vibrant, and the view more beautiful than ever before. Knowing I didn’t have long, I began to live more intentionally than I probably ever have. The friendships I had always wanted, I made. The things I had always wanted to do, I did. In these past couple of months, the Lord has given me a glimpse of what it means to really live. That being said, I know “really living” is not checking stuff off of a list, though I did have some success in accomplishing my “Covenant Bucket List” J My friends, however, know what it means to truly live out carpe diem…it’s not just written in fancy calligraphy on their walls but actually executed in their daily lives.
Speaking of my friends… Coming back to Covenant this year, especially knowing I was eventually going to leave, my goal was to love hard and love well. Though I definitely did not do this perfectly, I hope you know how much I truly do love you. I’m not quite sure how to express how thankful I am for you and how inspiring you have been to me. You’ve shown me things I might never have discovered on my own, and have consistently displayed the love and graciousness of our God. The vastness of your skills and talents constantly blow my mind, and I cannot wait to see how the Lord uses you in the future.
All these jumbled ramblings and thoughts are all just to say: Covenant, thank you so much. Not only do I see the world differently thanks to you, but Jesus has become even sweeter to me. The way you point others to Jesus and have so fiercely loved me has given me a glimpse of Christ’s love for His people. I will forever miss laughing with you, singing harmonies with you in Chapel, dancing with you at all our snazzy events, praying with you, enoing (is that a word?) with you, performing for you, and just doing life with you. Again, I realize the semester is not quite over yet, but I wanted to give my thanks in advance. I’m so grateful for the time I’ve had with you special folks on this special little mountain.
I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.’ As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight. –Ps. 16:2. You are my saints, and it is my delight to know you.