This damp, and soggy day is the first day of school here at York College. And I cannot help but wish I could take the hand of every anxiety-ridden Freshman here, and give them a bit of comfort.
I watch her as she anxiously marches her way across campus. Her new clothes stretch, and pull, and she sighs as the rain begins to dampen her carefully styled locks. She grimaces as she re-positions her backpack the size of Mount Everest on her already aching back. She carefully glances around her to ascertain the position of all the other rather terrifying students around her. A water bottle, tucked on the side of her bag, sloshes, and foams as she hurries along. She holds her crumpled schedule, unwavering, in front of her, as if she believes it to be a talisman of good fortune. Something concrete she can hold on to, in a less than trustworthy world. This girl is a college Freshman, and I am the wise Senior who looks on, in quiet empathy.
You, new girl on campus, with your big heart, and even bigger hopes and dreams.I have some words for you that might help you negotiate this Scary Day. Take a moment from your anxious thoughts, and listen.
Yes, there will be tough things ahead. At times, you will feel the pull of the world. Your professors, your classes, and even your own inner perfectionist will urge you to produce more, and more, and drive you farther than you ever thought possible. At times, you will feel inebriated with the bitter juices of anxiety comparing yourself to another person who appears to be dancing his way through life with seemingly no flaws or faults.At times, you might take a look at your bank account, and feel a cold sweat of anxiety come over you, and you might wonder when you will be more in the black, and less in the red. The world will bellow with a loud, and clamorous voice that time is running short, and that you better figure it all out soon. The world will say that you are already behind everyone else.
I have been there. And the hope I can give you is that it will, slowly but persistently, get better.
It will be in the midst of that inky darkness of fear that a warm hand will reach out, and grasp yours. You will be thrashing around in the middle of the pool when, suddenly, you will feel earth beneath your shivering feet. And suddenly oxygen will begin to fill your lungs, and the deep dark waters will drain away. You will see the light again. And you will feel warm sun on your face.
As an upperclassman, I want to be that warm hand. And I want to usher you into the only light that lasts–the Lord who does not sleep, but stays awake to watch over you.
In the midst of the worries, and joyless striving I can feel My Lord fighting for me, and carefully covering my wounds with hope.
And that, oh college Freshman, is my benediction passed on to you, on this cold and watery day.
“Praise the Lord; praise God our Savior! For each day He carries us in His arms.” -Psalm 68:19