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.

July 4, 2011

Fireworks & Memories

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 9:48 pm by Katie

Isn’t it funny how certain sights, smells, and days bring you back to a specific time in your life?

Of course, today is the 4th of July, Independence Day.  Everyone probably has their own ideas and memories about what makes this day special.  But I think the more intriguing thing, at least for me, is how my idea of what makes Independence Day special has changed as I’ve gotten older.

When I was just a kid, 4th of July weekend meant a celebration.  It meant packing snacks, drinks, and a blanket and heading out to the lake to watch the fireworks show along with the majority of my <2,000 person hometown.  It meant heading to my grandparents’ house for a cookout of barbecue chicken or hot dogs and hamburgers, depending on what we’d had for Memorial Day.  It meant maybe having corn on the cob, depending on how the summer had gone so far for the farmers, and discussing how a farmer’s prime summer corn should be “knee high by the 4th of July.”  It meant sitting at the table watching, and later helping, my grandpa to make his “famous fruit salad” (title coined by yours truly when I was just a lil tyke).

But I was driving today, I remembered another 4th of July memory that’s a little more recent.  Six years ago, I was spending my first 4th away from the lake and my parents and grandparents, watching fireworks over a different body of water – San Diego Bay.  I was there for the National Leadership Meeting  (back when it was NLM, not NLC…gosh, I’m old!) of FCCLA, had just run for and subsequently not received a national office, and was marveling in the fact that I was wearing jeans and a hoodie on July 4th.  I was also in the arms of a particular boy, and while that didn’t work out the way we once thought it would, I’m so glad that we’re still friends.  Such good friends, in fact, that I texted him upon being reminded of this particular occasion and lamented the fact that we were old, haha.

But I really got to thinking about just how long ago that six years seems to be now.  Six years ago I was still in high school.  I hadn’t spent four years growing up in Kentucky, hadn’t met the girls who made my first year of college what is still one of my favorite memories to date, hadn’t taught and then figured out that teaching, at least in high school, was not what God had planned for me.  I hadn’t driven 20 hours in one weekend to and from Missouri to meet my sister for the first time and say goodbye to my grandpa and wrestle with God for the rest of that summer.  I hadn’t met the girls who opened their arms to me, the woman who lead me to ask Christ into my heart, or prayed about going away for eight weeks on a summer project with Campus Crusade.

I have to admit, I am not the best at reflecting and thinking about all these things, but when I’m lead to do that, it’s crazy all the things that come up.  When was the last time you took yourself down memory lane?

In other news, I’m officially on vacation until July 22.  I plan to spend a lot of time at the pool, reading, and relaxing.  One of the books I’m devouring is Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, which is the book my summer small group is reading.  Oh. My. Gosh.  Y’all, this book is amazing.  It was completely revolutionized my thinking about my quiet time with two chapters.  Run to the nearest bookstore or click as fast as you can to Amazon and pick up a copy.

Hopefully this vacation will mean some more regular blogging as well!

Happy 4th, y’all.  God Bless America ❤