Editors Note: This was written in the weeks preceding graduation. I am just now posting it because I was lazy, tired, and a little nervous. Here is my final post as a Biola Student.
You’ll have to forgive me. Forgive me for not writing often enough. Forgive me for writing this post in a few different sittings. Forgive me because it will be full of nostalgia and bittersweet goodbyes. Forgive me because this will hit some cheesy chords. Forgive me because this post won’t be enough no matter how long or how precise the words are displayed.
“You can’t repeat the past.” Nick, The Great Gatsby
Let me start by telling you that my dream for the last decade, biblical or not, has been to live a life that mirrors a combination of Jay Gatsby and Hitch. It seems beyond fitting that Gatsby has been released during the final weeks of my enrollment at Biola University.
I’ve long lived a life that is full of hopeless-romanticism, obsessive passions, and a façade that only a few break through to see my wretched and always-needing-grace soul.
When I first came to Biola four years ago, I used to tell people that I would leave Biola on my own terms. I would come in like a ball of fire, blazing trails, forcing my way into prominence…and I would leave quietly when no one was looking, driving up Highway 1 with the windows down and Dashboard Confessionals blaring, and the sun was battling the horizon for space. *Note I didn’t have a car yet, so this was a pretty bold statement.* *Second Note: you should laugh at the humor in the previous note.*
Four years later, I feel that I’m finally able to say I have accomplished (and often times failed) at what I needed to attempt here in Southern California. I can finally leave on my own terms, not being forced out nor desiring to leave. Simply put, it is simply time to move on.
I want to list the memories, the pictures, the songs that represent the playlist of my life: all the late nights with my friends, the time we went skinny-dipping in the rain, the dates that didn’t work out, the road trips, the sin-filled mistakes, the adventures to Hollywood, the classes, times of prayer, times of worship, the grace-covered growth, and the one time I fell in love and didn’t even know it until I was nearly all the way out the door.
But words can’t capture the emotions that reside inside my heart and mind, the ones I think about late at night when I’m sitting on my deck, teary eyed and worn down. It’s not that I will miss college as much as it is I know this time of my life is ending. I’m about to go to a city that is long forgotten, disappearing into a sea of faces that won’t know me, into the rest of my life which won’t be anything like college. (Note 3: I’m completely okay with the rest of my life not being like college).
The cheesiness that comes with saying “I’ll miss the people” is too much to bear, albeit completely accurate. If it weren’t for the people, the friendships, the enemies, I wouldn’t have made it. So what do I say?
It’s gone by way too fast
Part of my soul feels like it’s dying, in all the good ways but in all the sad ways too. My friends will get married, have children, buy homes, climb the ladder, serve Jesus, some will be famous, some won’t make it past 25, others will run into trouble, others will wash out. That’s just life.
Let Things Be
I have a secret spot down here, where I like to go and “Let Things Be” (Rose is Rose comics reference anyone?). I go there on the anniversary of Rachel’s death, when I fail a test, when my heart breaks, when I’m angry, when I’m joyful, and all the times I go to pray. Right before finals, I passed my secret spot into the hands and heart of someone who means a lot, who I love dearly, who won’t take it for granted. When we went down there together, to share memories and say goodbye for maybe the last time, I knew I had officially finished packing up my heart. Even when you don’t say all the things you probably should, love, it its infinite form of presence and power, says it all.
Damned if you don’t
So, I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. I’m trying to say goodbye. But I can’t, because I’ve never been any damn good at it.
I’m trying to say I love you, but I can’t, because I’ve never been any damn good at that either.
I’m trying to say I’ll miss you, that you’ll always be apart of my heart, that I’ll probably never find another like you, but I can’t do that, because I’m the one who writes posts about Never Say Never.
Like Jay, like Hitch, I’ll keep writing my story with the pen that’s become good at facades that are just as real as they’re supposed to look, because I’m a firm believer facades eventually consume who we are.
While I live out my fantasy of denial, I suppose I’ll always look back and think well of Biola. I am never one to miss the past, but I do cherish it. I’ll keep looking forward; I’ll keep looking for a way to say what I need to say. I know that I won’t find another, I can’t replace you, and most importantly I know…
You can’t repeat the past.
Live, Love, Eat Cheesecake…and Feel. My. Pulse.
So whether you read this as an analogy and an ode to Biola University, my SoCal (I said it, yes I said SoCal) family, the memories and mistakes, the good times and bad, or whether you see this as perhaps, just maybe, this is an analogy written deeply into the seams of my heart about so much more, read it and feel my pulse.
And one last thing:
It’s okay to fall in love and it is most certainly okay if they don’t love you back. Sometimes, that’s how the chips fall, that’s how the cards are dealt, but know that it isn’t because Jesus doesn’t love your nor does it mean that you aren’t good enough (although, never think you are finally good enough).
And it’s okay if your love has to be hidden…love is a violent weapon of truth, goodness, and grace, but sometimes it can be a weapon of destruction in our humanity.
That’s all I have (that’s a lie, I just can’t handle any more cheesy emotional advice).
So, here we go, back to my (er, I guess hers now!) secret spot to catch one more sunset, pray one more time, listen to the waves one more time, and be alone one more time before I’m alone very much of the time in Detroit.
Soon, if you listen close, you may hear my music and screams of joy out my car window as I drive up North for the final…trip…home.