Monthly Archives: May 2012

My Only Constant

It goes without saying that the college years are, almost by definition, a time of great change. Whether attending community college, state school, a liberal arts college, or a Bible college; whether staying home, staying in-state, moving out-of-state, or traveling abroad; college ushers in a season of change for all of its attendees. Thus, it will come as no surprise to you when I state the following:

It seems like everything in my life is changing.

There are, of course, the obvious things. My zip code changed from 48746, to 60610, and back again, in the span of nine months. I went from living in a dorm room to living in my room at home. The label of “best friend” jumped from one person to another as my friend group at college grew. I took up journalling and learned to like coffee and spinach. The list goes on and on.

And then there are the not-so-obvious changes; the ones that don’t face every college student. The house I’ve lived in since fourth grade is up for sale. When I moved home from college, I deep-cleaned my room with the purpose of making it easier for my parents to pack it up and move it to Saginaw in the fall. My baby brother is going to high school in the fall, ending the era of St. Paul Lutheran School for the Hobson family.

I’m at my grandparents’ home in Hillsdale for a few days; my beloved farm #inthecornfields. With each visit, Nana’s Alzheimer’s is worse, and I see the changes in her almost daily. The house I grew up playing with is now outfitted for the senior citizens my grandparents have somehow become, complete with guardrails on the basement stairs and bars in the bathroom.

We spent last weekend at Piatt Lake, the place that has been my summer home since before I was born. Surrounded by friends from camp, I laughed from that deepest place inside of me… but even Piatt Lake has changed. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become aware that the place I once thought entirely perfect is, in fact, marred by sin. The place where I have heard God’s voice the loudest and most clearly is also the place where His children have hurt me the most deeply. The waterline is receding, the buildings and footbridge are aging. Where we once spent our summers happily disconnected from the world, we now have cell service on the beach and in splotches around the cabin; and our WiFi will be hooked back up this summer.

As a control freak, I’ve never been a big fan of change. In fact, if asked to list my biggest fears, “change” would top the list every single time. Yet change presses in from every side. Change doesn’t care about my plans, my control. Change takes charge and pushes me aside.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about change since I’ve been home from school. As I thought, cried, prayed, journaled, etc, God pointed me to His Word. I looked up “unchangeable” in the concordance in the back of my Bible, and found these two verses.

But He is unchangeable, and who can turn Him back? What He desires, He does. For He will complete what He appoints for me, and many such things are in His mind. -Job 23:13-14

See, in the midst of all of this change, it’s easy for me to get caught up in worrying. It’s so, so simple for me to fret about my plans and purposes. Change is scary, especially knowing that we can never go back exactly to the way things were. Yet in the midst of my fear, I heard the quiet whisper of my Savior: “I am unchangeable.”

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He was the same when He spoke the world into being. He was the same through the Exodus, through the time of the Judges and throughout all of the prophets and kings. He was the same when He watched His Son come into the world one busy night in Bethlehem. He was the same when He watched that same Son being killed, so that I may have a chance to know Him. He was the same through the beginning of the church, through Paul’s imprisonment, through the Reformation.

His character has not changed throughout all of history. Though kings and presidents have passed away, my Savior has remained steadfast. Though wars have been fought, won, and lost, He has not been moved. Though laws have been passed, He remains the same.

My Jesus is the only thing that’s constant. Though my life swirls around me, He is the same. Though I may not come “home” next year, He is the same. When Nana doesn’t know who I am, He is unchanging. Throughout the fluctuations of friendships, He remains steadfast. When His children mess up, He is the same. Whether I am on staff at Hiawatha or serving in Pucallpa, He is the same.

Are you getting the picture yet? My heart is screaming, and if I were talking to you face-to-face, you would see the wild look in my eyes, hear the tremors of relief in my voice as I realize the full depth of the meaning of this. I need not worry, I need not fear. For in a world that is filled with the one thing I fear most, change,

He has not changed.

He does not change.

He will not change.

For all eternity, my Savior is steadfast.

He is my only constant.

Hallelujah.

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The Time I Nearly Ruined the Chicago Marathon

You can’t really, truly understand what the Chicago marathon looks like until you’ve seen it in person.  Sure, I had read descriptions, seen pictures, and watched news footage, but that could not prepare me for the reality that greeted me bright and early (way. too. early) the morning of October 9.

I was awakened by a foreign cacophony of cowbells, screaming, whistles, and incredibly loud Christian music (I’m not talking about Lecrae here, folks. Think Family Life Radio. Actually, think Moody Radio, because that’s what it was).  Bleary-eyed and confused, I made my way down the hall to the kitchen (where we have a view of the intersection of Chicago and LaSalle). 

Six or seven of my floormates were gathered in the kitchen, peering out the windows.  They half-turned to greet me with the grunted hellos of early mornings, then moved to make a spot for me.

That’s when I saw it. The Marathon.

The wide street was entirely filled with people of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.  Though each of them were running individually, the crowd moved as a whole, like a river rushing down the street.  I watched for several minutes and bodies weaved in and out like cars on a highway.  I listened to the screaming spectators, stared down from above as they found their runners and embraced them momentarily or threw water on them.

An hour or two later, I got a phone call from a cousin who was in town to watch the marathon.  She asked if I could meet her in Pilsen for an hour or two and watch with them before they headed out.  I said yes, but forgot a very crucial fact in my excitement to see family.

I would have to cross the street to get to the Brown Line.

I didn’t fully grasp that reality until I had showered, dressed, and made my way out to the plaza.  As I reached Wells, the point where I normally just walk across the street without paying much attention, I realized that my path was blocked.  It wasn’t just blocked with a police barricade or some yellow tape I could walk around.  No, it was blocked by hundreds of thousands of sweaty bodies doing the one activity I hate the most.

A group of students I knew was approaching the road at the same time I did, so I decided to watch them and just do what they did.  I’m not sure what I thought would happen, maybe that a magic passageway would open, or that there was a “WALK/DON’T WALK” sign for crossing through marathons. I grew up in a cornfield, guys, I’m not too familiar with MASSIVE INTERNATIONAL RUNNING EVENTS.

Much to my terror, the group of students dove directly into the mass of runners, moving perpendicular to the marathon itself.  I watched with growing trepidation as they wove expertly between the competitors and made it to the other side entirely unscathed.

Maybe I missed that orientation seminar, I thought. Maybe there was something in the MoodyCaster about how to cross the marathon-filled street that I ignored. Why didn’t I read my MoodyCaster?!

I am going to pause this story to tell you something very important.  Read carefully:

I have no form of athletic ability or coordination whatsoever.  The year I played volleyball at St. Paul (idon’twannatalkaboutit), I spent 98% of all games and practices yelling, “HELP.”  I also don’t run unless I have had a lot of sugar or am being chased by a drugged Peruvian who wants all my money.  I was also wearing flip flops.  Just let this all sink in for a moment.

Aaaand, resume story.

The way I saw it, I had three options.

  1. Call Rachelle and say, “I’m sorry, I know I never see you and you live far from me and your son is amongst the top five most adorable children I’ve ever met, but I’m unable to cross the teeming mass of running bodies that has invaded my place of education.”
  2. Sit down and cry in hopes that someone would see me, take pity on me, and airlift me across the street.
  3. Squinch my eyes shut a little bit and run across, screaming apologies and praying to Jesus that I didn’t die.

Though none of those options particularly appealed to me, I chose the third one.  I took a deep breath, looked around to make sure no one I knew was watching, and watched for some sort of a break.  About halfway through my deep-breathing exercises observations, I decided that keeping my eyes open would probably be a good thing to do.

Finally I saw a gap between runners, and I decided to go for it.  The next few seconds were a blur of me screaming things like, “I’M SORRY I’M SO SORRY EXCUSE ME I AM SO SO SORRY YOU ARE SO LEGIT FOR RUNNING THIS AND I AM RUINING IT I AM SO SORRY.”

Though my father doesn’t choose to believe this fact, I legitimately made it about halfway across the street without any issues.  After the halfway point, I moved backwards and to my right a little to avoid one runner (this will be a much more clear mental image if your mind is picturing Frogger).  As I avoided the first runner, another one ran directly into me.  Or maybe I ran into him.  He may or may not have cursed me out as he fell to the ground.

That’s correct. I didn’t just run into him. I knocked him to the ground.  After this event, I gave up, threw my hands above my head, screamed, “SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY,” and ran the rest of the way across the street, choosing to totally ignore the fact that there was a marathon going on around me.

Aaaaand… that is the story of the time I almost ruined the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  The good news is: I made it to Pilsen despite the Brown and Pink Lines being stuffed with tourists; I got to see Rachelle, Ray, and Wiler; and I didn’t hear of anyone dying in the marathon, so that guy I knocked over was probably-most-likely okay… even though I likely screwed up his pace or whatever.

Come Over?

I’m sitting at the kitchen table in my house in Millington. I’m not entirely sure how I got here; it still feels so surreal. My mind hasn’t wrapped around the fact that I’m away from my other home, my Chicago home, for three full months. I’ll see something in my closet and think, “I should take that back to school on Monday.”

Then I realize I’m not going back to school on Monday. I’m not going back to school for three more months.  The shortest nine months of my life have come to an end, I’m no longer a college freshman.

I’m sitting here sipping my iced coffee, with six or seven tabs open in Chrome, a to-do list at my side, and The Classic Crime playing.  I’m trying to figure out how to sum it all up.  I’ve spoken of the things I’ve learned, the friends I’ve gained, the friends I’ve lost, and the latest city to tightly tie itself around my heart.  From coffee shops, train rides, classrooms, and my dorm room, I’ve told you stories of this past year of my life.  Yet, now that it’s time to wrap it up, the words fail me.

There’s just too much to say, too many topics to cover and emotions to convey. Do I come at it from a humorous angle, telling tales of the time I knocked over a marathon runner, the late nights spent wandering around Millennium Park doing bird calls, and all the times in 501 when we laughed until we cried? Or should I go the sentimental/literary route, making up allegories of running and birdcages and freedom to describe the intense sea of grace I have recently found myself drowning in? Maybe I could make a list, attack the last nine months from a logical perspective. I could just state everything I’ve done and learned and tried, without adding any embellishments.

It’s a lot easier to talk about things one at a time. I had no problem posting about my changed major, my new church, or my friends. But when I try to sum it all up, it’s like yet another assignment for class. I find myself trying too hard to cram everything into a post of manageable length. It’s impossible. I’d much rather have you come over for an afternoon and sit at the table with me.  We could share the homemade iced coffee I just learned how to make, and then you could see.

You could see the smile that spreads across my face when I talk about my summer plans and my new major. You could hear me laugh and see the joy in my eyes when I tell stories of my friends and I. You could see the tears pool in my eyes when I talk about my girls at PCM, who I’ll likely never see again. We’d talk for hours, you and I.

Come over?

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Finals week almost killed me, but I’m home.

I’ll write more when my brain actually understands what’s going on.

.

Dear Blank, Please Blank

Dear Insomnia,
Please stop being a part of my life. Being awake until 3 am every night is entirely unacceptable with finals week coming up so soon.
Sincerely,
I just want to sleep

Dear Plaza Couples,
REALLY?! Must you sit there and touch each other’s faces right in front of me?! In broad daylight?!
Sincerely,
Not bitter, just single

Dear Dr. Fledderjohann,
We have two hours to do for our final what we had a week and a half to do for an assignment?
Sincerely,
That’s impossible

Dear ResLife,
Sure, I’ll just find someone to store my fridge all summer. Or else take it all the way home.
Sincerely,
Why can’t I just leave it here??

Dear Public Transit,
Even though you smell like pee, are incredibly crowded sometimes, and occasionally make me fear for my life; I’m going to miss you a lot this summer when I have to drive everywhere again.
Sincerely,
Sorry I’ve complained

Dear Other People on my Floor,
Is it really necessary to have all of your 1 am conversations right by the elevator?
Sincerely,
The elevator’s neighbor

Dear Gum Snappers,
AT LEAST wait until there’s other noise in the room. If all I can hear is the person speaking or praying/the movie/silence and your gum, you’re being straight up rude.
Sincerely,
It’s not just my misophonia

Dear Moody,
I don’t want to leave in a week and a half. Can you guys create some sort of time slower-downer machine?
Sincerely,
Shortest year ever