July 19, 2011

I Believe in the Power of a Memory

Posted in School tagged , , , at 11:39 pm by Katie

As part of the University 101 class I am co-teaching in the fall, students will read the book This I Believe II and write their own This I Believe essays. The concept is simple. Short essays of 500ish words on a core value of a person’s life. The project held a place on NPR for years, and you can learn more about it here: This I Believe

As my co-instructor and I have worked on our syllabus, I’ve had many thoughts on what my essay would look like. I absolutely planned on writing one right along with the students and honestly figured I’d probably write several. But as I was lying in bed tonight, waiting for sleep to come, a single sentence came to me.

I believe in the power of a memory.

So, being too tired and lazy to grab my laptop, I typed it all into a note on my iPhone. My brain didn’t want it to sit until morning, so I spilled it all out. And because I’ve done a horrible job of blogging lately, I figured I would post it here as well. Here goes nothin’:

I believe in the power of a memory.

Five girls piled into one room. Mattresses, pillows, and blankets litter the floor. Token junk food containers dot the scene, the remnants of a freshman year.

Five girls spend that night together, in a room designed for two. Boxes packed, walls bare, but within those white cinderblock walls are the memories of the 12th floor. They hold endless nights of laughter, the tears of college relationships gone awry, and the many silly photographs taken together. They hold a year’s worth of growth, learning, and love.

Tomorrow, after one last shared meal, they will pile into separate cars and head separate ways. They promise to talk and text and Facebook often. They count down the days until they return as sophomores, no longer the new kids on the block.

Five years later, with the added clarity of hindsight, it’s obvious that night didn’t just mark the end of a year. It marked the end of a friendship as they knew it. Those girls grew up, grew into themselves. They changed their activities, their friendship circles, and even their beliefs. They moved away from the bubble of their college life and dispersed throughout the Southeast.

But in the power of that memory, I can take myself back to my place in that room, perched on that mattress on the floor, watching a movie and talking late into the night. I can lose myself in the love that surrounded that room, wrap myself in it when I need a reminder of a simpler time. We may not all be together now; we may not even all speak frequently or at all, but one thing remains the same. In my heart, as the lyrics go, it’s still the five of us.


November 13, 2010

Diligence, Schoolwork, and Unfailing Strength

Posted in Proverbs, School, Spirituality at 11:01 am by Katie

So, I was just convicted about my schoolwork.

My schoolwork.  Who expects to be convicted about that?  If I was to peek into my life right now and start pointing fingers at parts where I should be convicted, the list would include my time with the Lord, my actions toward others, and a whole host of other things.

This morning, I was reading yesterday’s P31 devotion about shortcuts and how they don’t get us anywhere we want to be.  I think shortcuts and most people’s fascination with them are just interesting.  Plus…I love a good shortcut.  Why yes, I did just throw out a computer shortcut to Hannah about 45 minutes ago.  But I digress…

Anyway, so the application portion of this devotion prompted me to name one area of my life that needed work and two steps I could take to see change in that area this week.  Check, done, moving on (PS, it’s my quiet time, so if any one of you wants to hold me accountable to that…please feel free!)

Then, the reflection portion asked about shortcuts I’ve taken in life that have proved to be bad decisions.  As I sat back and tried to think about it, “schoolwork” kept popping into my head.  As I began to write, it became pretty clear.  I have taken the laissez-faire attitude to my schoolwork in the past three weeks.  Anyone who has been around me has heard me say that I am over this semester, over grad school, and over my work for classes.  Cool, so is 95% of my cohort.

But the Lord really showed me this morning that in rushing through readings or procrastinating on papers (ahem, subculture paper…yeahhh), I’m not producing my best work.  Everything I do should be my best because it’s a reflection of God and is work for Him.  So, when I’m being “over” school and just not caring, it’s not exactly glorifying the Lord in the way that it should be.


But isn’t it great that the Lord can convict us about things without us even knowing we needed to be convicted about them?  He knows our hearts better than we ever could, and He can point out those things that need work that wouldn’t even make our lists.

One of the verses at the end of this particular devotion was Proverbs 13:4.

“The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” (NIV)

“Fully satisfied.”  Those words jumped off the screen at me.  What exactly does it mean to be fully satisfied?

Well, I got a little nerdy, and I looked up the Greek for satisfied.  (Yes, Ellen…I just looked up the Greek for a word.  You have now rubbed off even more!)

The Greek word for satisfied is Areko.  It means:

  • to be possessed of unfailing strength
  • to be strong, to suffice, to be enough
  • to defend, ward off
  • to be contented

To be possessed of unfailing strength.  That one really stood out for me.  By being diligent, all of our desires will be enough.  We will be content, and we will possess unfailing strength.  How cool is that?

So, here’s to me (and maybe the rest of us) being more diligent in the rest of this semester, year, or whatever season you may be in.