For the first time in three years, returning to Grand Rapids this fall felt like coming home. There was a feeling of contentment, of returning to something that is good.
My first three years here didn’t feel that way. I felt disconnected from the city and the lifestyle of an over-committed student wore me thin. It took awhile to find people I connected with; there were a fair share of lonely days and wet-eyed counseling sessions.
But despite the challenges life at Calvin has brought with, there is no place I would have rather spent the past three years. There is no other community I would rather struggle and learn and grow in during this season of life. Calvin is truly a remarkable place that thinks and cares deeply about this world. It is a community that is formative and challenging in the best ways possible. It has introduced me to some of the greatest people I know and it has shown me new ways of understanding, appreciating, and engaging with this world.
It has taken me three years to come to love Calvin and Grand Rapids, and now it’s starting to hit me that my time here is almost up.
I have incredible friends who will be moving across the country and world after we graduate. I have professors and mentors who have poured into my life and journeyed with me academically and relationally. These relationships are life-giving and I’m not ready to say goodbye.
2015 has been a difficult year marked by big questions and existential perplexity; leading to healthy growth, but also setbacks and regret. Still, I have hope for these next nine months. I’m living with beautiful people in a fun neighborhood. I’m taking interesting classes and doing meaningful work. I’m making time for myself to do the things that fill my soul. But more than anything, I feel a renewed desire to know God and that gives me more hope than I’ve felt in a long time.
So my prayer for this year is this:
May I continue to dwell in a place of thanksgiving, for what this place has done for me and the privilege it is to spend another year here.