Forced to choose a single highlight of my trip to Minnesota for Bethel University’s Homecoming and my 25th Reunion, I would say that is was the joy of spending some time — face to face — with some of the women who deeply impacted my life when we were students together (or when I was a student and they were faculty).
So, as much as the cliche answer bothers me to give, it was truly about the people.
I loved being on campus and seeing the fantastic new buildings. The programming I took advantage of was great — demonstrating the commitment to excellence that has been a hallmark of Bethel for a long time. I even thought the food was pretty good and, on campus, we ate in the “cafeteria” with the students. But…
Simply seeing people who once held such a deep space in my heart and who God used in ways far beyond what they might imagine to shape me in various ways was fun. We told stories to each other of those days in the past when we slept less and took risks more. We laughed – again – at the fairly ridiculous things we did.
It was fascinating to realize that some of the people who I thought had it all together really didn’t and others who truly were a mess at the time have found extraordinary peace and purpose through life.
I grew to a new realization that all each us was far more self-centered than we either wanted to be or thought we were in those days sometimes referred to as “good” and “old.” I am thankful that I didn’t wallow long in the realization that my own egocentricity is responsible for my missing some great opportunities and relationships.
The richness of reunion came when the conversations moved from memory lane to the longer and more complicated journeys we’ve been on in the meantime. In those moments I found myself marveling at the ways that God has proven His faithfulness through it all. Honestly, I was moved to tears more than once as I heard accounts of God’s amazing grace.