“If you’re alone, I’ll be your shadow. If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder. If you want a hug, I’ll be your pillow. If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile. But anytime you need a friend, I’ll just be me.” ~Author Unknown
Sorry for the lag time since my last post. For those of you who were unaware, last weekend I went back to my Alma Mater, the Franciscan University of Steubenville, for my 10-year reunion. Even for someone who normally expresses herself better with the written word, it’s challenging to describe how spending time with old friends enlarges the heart. Not only sharing friendship but also a common faith, time has done nothing to change these relationships…10 years might as well have been 10 days! Picking up right where we left off was the theme of the weekend.
Walking around campus, there are new buildings and old ones that have undergone a facelift, but overall many things still feel the same. The change of colors and the smell of fall are still among my favorite things. Familiar faces of Franciscan TORs still appear around at University functions. Mass is still a powerful encounter with Christ, surrounded by hearts that long to be united with him and in a community of believers, and voices that proclaim his praises. “Strangers” still pass by you on the sidewalk, smiling, and greet you while looking you in the eye.
Many of us physically look much like how we did 10 years ago, or even better. When some of the guys put on their old household shirts to join in a flag football game, I was instantly transported back to the days when we’d cheer on the sidelines before heading over to dinner in the Cafe. Beyond feeling like a younger version of myself, I was surprised to hear by several people that I “haven’t aged” since our college haydays, and once I get some more steady income, I’ll be paying off those people for their kindness.
The women agreed that our sense of style has shown great improvements since the baggy flannels and sweaters and long flowery skirts of the ’90s have moved on, thank God. Even the pregnant ladies maintained great style and class.
Great times were shared throughout a short weekend together. The opening reception on Friday night allowed us the opportunity to hug and skip from one conversation to the next as our eyes would catch a glimpse of the next person we hadn’t seen in “forever”! Saturday morning’s brunch with Fr. Mike, our former President, brought me right back to many years of cafe food and fond memories shared over meals. The Saturday afternoon bonding time with Little Flower household sisters over old photo albums and some vino was definitely among my highlights. Memories of many a “Dance Party USA” in the hallway and silly inside jokes poured out as effortlessly as the Cabernet into our glasses! Saturday evening’s “Festival of Praise” reminded me what distinct things make that University so special, that hundreds of college kids would show up to worship Jesus on a weekend evening instead of out partying.
All in all, I am so blessed that I was able to share that time with some of the people who have helped me along my faith journey. Being together back in that place where our paths first crossed was like paying tribute to a soldier who served his country well and died with honor. I will cherish these memories until the next opportunity we get to make new ones. And for those who wished they could’ve been there but were not able to make it, next time!!!