I think we spend a great deal of our time thinking about tomorrow. Sure we are busy with the events, happenings and things of our days, but we have hearts set on tomorrow. What will come, what we will have, what we will achieve and who we will be often occupy a far greater part of our thoughts than where we are, who we are, who we are with, and what is happening around us right now. I think this becomes most clearly true during the times we sit at the edge of new beginnings, and at times when great hurt or difficultly surrounds us.
As some of you know, this summer has been challenging for me. After some years of struggle with a leg injury, I found that I needed to have a major surgical procedure to stabilize my ankle, and am confronted with the possibility that other surgery will be required on the leg. When you find yourself unable to walk and relegated to sitting in one place with a cast on your leg, you find it very easy to let all of your focus fall on the day that your cast will be cut off, and wishing the days would simply melt away until your healing comes. You begin to focus not on the days as they come, but on the one day, the someday that things will be better. You think about when things will go back to how they are supposed to be.
But as my pain and limitations push my focus off to that far day, I miss so much that is going on right now. The days of fun, connecting with old friends, the time spent with my partner, Emily, books I have finally read, time playing with my dogs. Sure, I have been stuck in a chair, and sometimes very uncomfortable, but I have been blessed by many of the things that have happened while I have been sick. Sure, many of those days have been frustrating, and perhaps they have not been as exciting as an exotic vacation, but wonderful things have happened in them.
You are about to get very busy. College moves incredibly fast and always pushes you to think about the next thing to come. The things to come will be incredible, but slow down enough to look with new eyes at the places you are. Each of your days at UNCG is an incredible opportunity to be a part of a rich patchwork community of friends and neighbors, and to make an incredible difference in that community now – to bring the truth, love and peace of God into a racing world of fears, heartache and loneliness, that ignores the wonder of today for the dream of tomorrow. If you slow down enough, you will find that what truly matters are the meals you eat with the hungry, the laughter you share with the happy, the tears you cry with the sad, and the moment you spend with the beautiful hearts that surround you. I am not saying that every fear and wound in our life, especially deep emotional and physical hurts and fear, should be dismissed, but we have an incredible power to choose how we will see the changes and tribulations of our lives.
This year, may you live and love to the fullest, not for the sake of what is to come, but for a God and for people who are here now. May peace find you in the pressures and the storms, and may the relationships you build change your heart as radically as you change this world.
Be safe as you journey back to UNCG. Let’s lift our hearts and our hands each day to reflect the love of Christ into our Spartan community.