Spending several days on a college campus this past weekend brought back a flood of memories. There is this mystical drawing power of places upon our hearts and minds. The campus represents much more than brick and mortar. For you it may be a homestead, a high school, your home church and any other number of places. Their ability to impact our emotions and memories is why they mean so much to us.
While attending the board of Trustee meeting at Olivet Nazarene University I was reminded of the day I pulled on the campus in August of 1974 as a freshman. Little did I know what would transpire over the next four years and then the rest of my days. I met wonderful friends, and wonderful professors who molded and shaped my world. I met my wife and received my call to preach. I just finished my 19th year as a trustee. My wife this past weekend received her second degree from Olivet, in 2008 our son graduated from here as well.
Some could walk by the campus and not be impressed at all. The campus quite impressive in appearance does not impact me because of what can be seen, rather it is the unseen memories filled with life altering impact that stays with me to this very day.
But I only lived there for four years. I have never been a resident of the community or been employed by the college, really in the number of my years four is not that many, yet the impact continues. One might say that the four years came at a crucial time in my life, a time when one is making many life determining decisions. Four years that coincided with the impressionable mind of a young person. Whatever psychological, theological, physiological reasons the result is the same, that place impacted my life.
Interestingly I never pitched a tent and stayed there. The lessons and the life impact were intended to be lived out elsewhere. Really there have been several places that represent impact in my life and yet today I live in none of those places: My childhood home in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The schools I attended, my home church the South Side Church of the Nazarene. Some of these places do not exist anymore. Even so it does not lessen the impact they hold in my memories. We all love special places. I am thankful for the places that hold special memories for me, but I am more thankful for the God I met in those places, the commitments made that are still real today. For the family times that still are carried in the unseen bank of remembrance. The place was and is important, but most important are the decisions made and kept and the presence of the Lord to guide and to lead.
The best place of all is to live in the center of the Lord’s will.