Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Girl in the 405

As my first year of college is nearing the end, there are two things I want to reflect on: my room and my roommate. The Lord used Amelia and the 405 in ways I would never have imagined.

To clarify, the only reason my room has been so awesome is because of Amelia (well, the Lord through Amelia). Without her, the 405 is just another dorm room. Maybe this post is a little premature since I don’t mean this to be a goodbye; we still have a month left. Gosh…just a month. Oh, how time flies.

You might be thinking, “Ok, so what’s so great about the 405? And what makes your roommate so special?”

It’s going to be hard to put words to the incredible experiences I’ve had in this room with this girl. There have been loads of laughter, several rap / dance parties, many prayers lifted aloud, and a few occasions of weeping. (More to come on the weeping session later).

When I first met my roommate, I must admit, I was quite intimidated. I had just unloaded most of my things, chatting with my parents and my sister, when this freakin’ supermodel just saunters into the room. Blonde hair effortlessly bouncing behind her with an enormous grin on her face, she just flew in looking completely confident. I wouldn’t be surprised if my mouth dropped. I suddenly felt like such a child as I saw this girl – no, woman – walk in our new room with all the confidence and poise in the world.

Of course, thinking back on that day now, I can’t help but laugh. Not because Amelia isn’t confident and beautiful, but because I know so much more about her now (and know so much more about myself). I now know all about her goofiness, her ability to make raps on the spot, her love of lounging around in her fluffy, white robe, her love of poetry and words, her incredible admiration for the Lord, and her obsession with conquering new yoga poses.

Amelia introduced me to a whole other world that I had never really experienced before. She taught me how to live. I had grown up in an atmosphere that was so focused on the future (not that that’s a bad thing). I grew up in a routine, doing what I was told, doing my best in school, determined to get A’s, resolute to be a leader in whatever capacity I could be, and being a “good kid”. There were expectations, and I followed them without question.

Again, I’m not saying any of these things are bad. Because of the love and stable environment I grew up in, I think I’m better off for it. But, I was living by routine, by principle, by structure. Spontaneity was never my strong suit – that was always someone else’s forte.

And then came Amelia.

She asks that hard questions that most people wonder but never dare to voice. She so appreciates the little things: the beautiful, natural light that pours in our room that must be captured with her camera. The simple but lovely melody that pops in her head, so she sprints to the piano at the end of the hall to experiment with it. The flowers she finds on the side of the road that she brings back to our windowsill. The poem she stumbled upon, the song she heard, the chocolate she ate, the discussion she had, or the perfume she smelled. All these things she’s experienced and shared, whether she realizes it or not, have given me glimpses of the Lord’s goodness. The Lord now shows up in places I never would’ve expected.

We have also developed such an incredible system of servant hood. When I’m having a chaotic day, she’ll make my bed. When she’s discouraged, I’ll write her a sweet note. When we’re both getting angsty, we’ll both immediately grab the vacuum or the antibacterial wipes and clean the room. When someone needs a break, we’ll give each other back massages. My personal favorite: when we are in need of prayer, we’ll pray for each other aloud, right then and there, because why wait? 

Our view from the 405

There have been several pivotal moments in Amelia and I’s relationship, perhaps the most significant one being when we first wept together. You’d be surprised just how powerful sorrow can be for two roommates.

About a month ago, Amelia and I faced one of the “hell” weeks of the year. It was a Monday (which is already bad enough, am I right?), and Amelia had just returned from a wretched weekend. I received news that morning that one of my family members was most likely going to die that week. I was in my room alone, and I collapsed onto the floor, sobbing. After a couple of minutes of that, I was overcome with exhaustion, so like the good college student I am, I took a nap. About an hour later, I woke up to the sound of my beloved roommate crying herself. Without even opening my eyes, I could hear her heart breaking. I quietly said, “Amelia?” She turned, surprised, and chuckled a little from the fact she had no idea I was even there. I got up from my bed and hugged her. She told her story, and I told mine. Still embracing one another, we collapsed on the floor together, sobbing, unwilling to let the other go. We cried out to the Lord, tears streaming down our faces. We begged the Lord for peace, for wisdom, for comfort, and for the strength to make it through the unbearable week that was awaiting us.
After wearily saying “Amen,” we looked at each other and of course, busted out laughing; we were quite a sight to see. We laughed at our pitiful blotchy, tear-stained faces. We picked each other up, and moved forward.

I tell you that story because it’s one that I will never forget. How could I? It was such a God-moment, where we were literally shaking because we were so overcome with sorrow and desperation. Yet, we held each other, literally, and called upon the Lord with every fiber of our being.

But the Lord didn’t just show up in the 405 when we were at rock bottom. He was there in the late-night stories, the coffee drinking, the chocolate eating, the C.S. Lewis reading, the BeyoncĂ© belting, the sleeping, the waking, the weeping, and the laughing. He’s been there every step of the way, and looking back, it’s ridiculous to ever doubt otherwise.

I almost feel as though writing this post is in vain, for I am inadequate to completely convey the magic that has happened in this place. I am at a loss to properly show my love and admiration for Amelia – the Lord has used her, as cheesy as it sounds, to change my life. She has shown me the vastness of the Lord’s wisdom and beauty of His creativity. Because of Amelia, I know and love the Lord more. Because of Amelia, I know how to better love others. Because of Amelia, I have a better idea of what it means to really live