Wednesday, September 2, 2009

'Here's to the uniforms of blue ...'

Next spring, I will mark a significant passage of time on the campus of Mississippi University for Women. My classmates – or rather those who actually show up for Homecoming – and I will have made it halfway to Golden Girl status. Hard to believe since it sometimes seems like only last year we rambled that historic campus tucked in an area of land near downtown Columbus.

And then sometimes, given the passage of time and the distance time has thrown some of us away, it seems that the years we spent there was just a nighttime dream and never really existed at all. I know it happened, though, because I have the memories – and a few photographs (as well as a few literal and emotional scars) – to prove it.

It’s funny and probably really odd to some folks that I’m already preparing for an event that doesn’t even occur for eight months. I’ve already begun emailing, texting, Facebook messaging and harassing many of my friends and acquaintances from that era of my life insisting they attend Homecoming in April 2010.

Few have committed already to attending homecoming. Some of them have simply replied that they're disinterested in being a time traveler for a weekend, content to live in the present and remaining in contact with those “W Girls” they want to keep in touch with. Others haven’t even responded at all leading me to believe they’re quite happy not spending time reminiscing with old friends they used to sing songs in the Café Olay with.

I’m not exactly certain why I am more excited about this Homecoming than any others I’ve attended in the past. I’ve been pretty faithful to make the pilgrimage to Columbus – having only missed three or four of the events since the year after my graduation. I don’t really have any bragging to do, per se. Although I’m proud of the work I do and absolutely love my job, I probably wouldn’t be in the Top 10 percent of the most accomplished among my classmates. I opted for the safer route for work and took few risks in life. I feel like I’ve done some awesome work and made some differences through what I’ve done, but I don’t feel what I consider career success measures up to what others might term it.

And that’s really OK.

The thing that makes me most proud is where my life has grown since my junior and senior years at The W. During that time period I made some of the same stupid choices that most college kids make. I didn’t by any means leave Columbus even slightly unscathed – and my GPA reflected my party-loving attitude. I made friends fairly easily for a junior college transfer and seemed to fit in well on campus despite the fact that I never earned any of the accolades those students who spent all four years of their college careers there.

But I don’t feel less of a person today because I wasn’t a Hottentot or named Miss MUW.

It’s a hard analogy to put into exact words, honestly. But singer/songwriter Brandon Heath has a little ditty getting lots of airplay right now that makes me think of the upcoming Homecoming activities at MUW. Although I’ve not looked up the background of this song, I can pretty much guess he is directing it to at least one certain person and trying to drive home a point about how his life has changed. I’m hoping those who see me at The W in April note a similar thing about me.

Here are the lyrics:

I wish you could see me now

I wish I could show you how

I'm not who I was

I used to be mad at you

A little on the hurt side too

But I'm not who I was

I found my way around

To forgiving you

Some time ago

But I never got to tell you so

I found us in a photograph

I saw me and I had to laugh

You know, I'm not who I was

You were there, you were right above me

And I wonder if you ever loved me

Just for who I was

When the pain came back again

Like a bitter friend

It was all that I could do

To keep myself from blaming you

I reckon it's a funny thing

I figured out I can sing

Now I'm not who I was

I write about love and such

Maybe 'cause I want it so much

I'm not who I was

I was thinking maybe I should let you know

I am not the same

But I never did forget your name


Well the thing I find most amazing

In amazing grace

Is the chance to give it out

Maybe that's what love is all about

I wish you could see me now

I wish I could show you how

I'm not who I was

Although my experience was a bit different than his song (and I think there are a few folks who have been mad at me for quite some time rather than me made at them – although hurt would be a more appropriate term to use in my case), I’m hoping that I have some time in April to prove that I am truly not the same person who strolled the MUW campus with an infallible and almost arrogant attitude at times.

I am not who I was because God has been working on me for many years to transform me into the potential that He created. To bring me to a point where I want to be simply me. I’ve not arrived yet and His work probably won’t be completed by April 16. But I’m hoping that enough of it will have been done by then that people will see I have changed.

My prayer is that they will see Him reflected in my face, in my attitude, in my speech … basically in all of me.

I’m hoping that they will realize I’ve matured and in that growth I’ve become more comfortable within my own skin. I’m hoping they see that the arrogance of youth has been replaced by the wisdom of the Word of God and a life of learning from the mistakes I’ve made despite the fact I keep making some of them over and over again.

But I’m guessing that’s where grace fits into Kim Jobe’s life most.

Most of all, I’m hoping for a time to make amends and renew old bonds.

Perhaps my “W Girl” friend Janet Boozer Butts stated it best when we were discussing this blog post recently and I hope she doesn’t mind that I borrowed a few of her thoughts:

“There is just something about it (Homecoming) that draws us … love, sentimentality, memories … plus I think that era of our lives we were just dealing with life the best way we knew how to and now that we are older, we look back and say, 'What was I thinking?' and can’t believe we were that silly and immature (at least that’s what I think and I keep hoping that I’ll find some kind of sense that I might have left up there in my closet or something).

“I want a do-over. I know that I can never go back to the times I spent there, but, for the most part, I want to really experience it all again now that I am more cognitive.

“I wish I had paid attention …”

Me, too, Janet me, too.

And given the chance to share some time in April, 2010, with some of those people who played such significant roles in my MUW years, I’m already planning to pay lots of attention.

Meet ya in Columbus?

1 comment:

Melissa said...

great job and I love your new background too! Love you girl!