I think I have been to one homecoming since I graduated in 1984 and that was in 1984. I’ve been back to the campus a few times since then, but not at all for at least 12 years. Maybe more. I’ve seen pictures and I know it’s changed.
I’ve changed, too.
So, when I decided to go I didn’t let myself think too much about it — I curbed my natural tendency to over think the whole thing, which was no small feat. I found a place to stay and purchased a ticket on Delta/Northwest and then registered for the events. By the time I had all of that time and money invested, there was no turning back. Don’t mistake the confession that I could have easily talked myself out of it as any sort of regret. I’m very glad to be going.
Last week Dawn called (she’s on the committee) and asked me to MC at the Class of 1984 program on Saturday night (you know I agreed without hesitation) and told me about a few of the things that are planned. I could feel my excitement growing.
Faculty of Influence
This week I’ve firmed up plans to connect with Judy Moseman who is easily on my list of the 5 Bethel profs who have had the greatest impact on my life. Because of Judy (okay, because of GOD, but He used Judy directly) I pursued secondary education and taught for over a decade.
I’ve also auditioned to sing in the alumni choir who will perform two numbers and then lead at the Sunday afternoon hymn sing. I’m not only excited about singing in a choral group at Bethel again (oh, the memories that will elicit), but to be doing it in Benson Hall. The chances I’ll get through that event without tears is about 2%. (Oh, the audition?…I wrote a three sentence email indicating that I’d like to sing and that I was in the Women’s Choir from ’80-’84. That simple.) The director of the Women’s Choir back in my day was Mary Fall and she would also be in that list of 5. One of the most gracious women I have ever known.
I’m looking forward to seeing Dale Johnson‘s art (especially the piece he did on a reconciliation theme. Maybe I’ll see him around the studios or the gallery while I’m there. Yes, he’s on the list, too. He challenged me to see my art (both the end product and the process) as worship and that not only impacted my art but ultimately the way I see work in general.
Now I find myself frustrated that I said “5” instead of either stopping at 3 or pushing past to 7 because, well, there are some hard calls between the next few.
Susan Odgen-Malouf‘s influence was short-term but deep as my prof for Words & Ideas my first semester at Bethel. That class and the people in it was extraordinary, for sure. Susan’s been gone from Bethel for quite a while — I have no idea where she is, actually. Susan pushed me to think about all of the second-hand values and beliefs I brought with me and encouraged the rebirth of my own.
Daniel Taylor instilled in me a love for literature that surprised me. That, alone, may not have gotten him on this list. His influence grew exponentially when I began reading his book titled Letters to my Children to my first period class for devotions when I was teaching.
Then there was Marilyn Starr who was not a prof but the Dean of Women. She was one of those people who God used to get me to take a long look at the choices I was making. She helped me correct my corse at a critical point. She also helped me find some great roommates for my senior year! (Ivy, Schmelvin and Sue!!)
And then there is Alvera Mickelsen who did so much to help me develop my ability to think and to communicate those thoughts effectively. She pushed me to consider and reconsider; to look from new angles and wonder about things.
All of that contributes to my joy and delight and a bit of my angst as I prepare to return to a place I have long loved and where God did some extraordinary (and yet common for Him) work in me that was sometimes painful and more than occasionally unexpected.