I keep my dorm keys on a Hogwarts key chain that my cousin brought back for me from Harry Potter World. From the same ring, my glossy ID swings and a black lanyard that tags me as a college student. I barely know my way around campus and my head is swimming with details about what I can and cannot hang up in my room. But here I am, that place I dreamed of being when I was twelve and so taken with college. Orientation has kept me too busy to really realize that I’m not arguing with Enoch about walking the dog.
However, homesickness hit me hard a week earlier when I was hiking in the Adirondacks with some other Gordon freshmen. Sometimes you just can’t help but miss people. But I’m grateful I had such a long drive up with my family before I stepped out on this new adventure. Classes begin on Wednesday although I’m not sure what I’m taking. Honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing.
I was trying to convey how I felt about my last summer as a camper at Csehy to an alumni. I struggled to express the jumble of sadness and contentment that was swishing around inside me. However, my visiting friend suggested that: “It’s like leaving Narnia.” That was exactly how it felt. Willmos and Gladys Csehy sang this camp into being in their devotion to God and music. For 54 years, God-fearing lords and ladies have been looking after campers as they step into this magical and melodic setting. Csehy is a haven.
Like Lucy at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I was going to say good-bye to a world I loved dearly. Yes, I can return as a counselor. But it’s different. This was my last summer as a participant in the story. Now, Csehy was not always dancing with fauns and singing with dryads. As in The Lion,the Witch, and the Wardrobe, there were battles; both faced alone and with companions. But those days only helped me grow closer to God and to friends.
This last summer changed me. I felt as if my life posture was fixed. For so long I had it was all about me. But it isn’t. All that I have and am belong to God. And that is the way I want to live my life. The people at Csehy helped me see that.
I love Csehy, but it is only a shadow of what is to come. One day, I’ll pass through the doorway, just like Lucy in The Last Battle.
As you read this I will be stuck in some closet space or locker room with my harp, plucking away until my fingertips are raw. And enjoying every minute. Though my electronic communication items have been temporarily seized, I will return to posting weekly when I come home from camp in two weeks. But for now I will leave you with this fun tidbit about my harp (the blonde one in the picture):
I named her Andromache, after Hector’s wife from the Illiad. I had a slight crush on him.
For one brief but exhausting week, I had my friends. We were given seven days to eat Chick-Fil-A, drink several gallons of water (as a result of a purchase mistake at Target) and be merry around the Eden Resort and Hotel. And we nearly did it all.
Other years, Veritas Press’s End of the Year Gathering felt like a whirlwind of events and wardrobe changes. But this time, it was just a week to be with friends and to do normal teenager-y type of things, which we couldn’t do while living thousands of miles apart. Yes, such things included wandering aimlessly around a mall.
Graduation was surreal. I sat in the back of my friend’s car listening to my done-with-exams anthem, “Domino” by Jessie J, when I realized I was heading to the last event of my high school career. The thrill was electric, as we donned our royal blue gowns and shuffled into the overcrowded lady’s room to adjust our caps. Not only was I marching behind teachers who had graded pages and pages of my work, but I was walking beside friends who had helped me through nervous break downs and directional derivative problems. Personally knowing more than two-thirds your graduating class makes the listening to the long list of names much more interesting. I had the privileged of sitting behind and staring at the feet of two of my best friends as they gave their valedictorian and salutatorian speeches. I was so proud. And despite how clichéd family graduation photos can be, I made sure I had some. They felt oddly important to me.
Some kids mentioned that they didn’t feel any different after the ceremony. And for some, this was their second time through with the tassle-hassle. However, once I took a hold of that diploma and that Bible something changed. I felt relief. It was done.
And though I grieve that many of those people I shared that week and ceremony with I won’t see again, I am grateful to have known them, and I am certain that I have established friendships which God has given me for life. I will miss you Veritas and friends, but not you, Calculus.
What did it all mean? I had nothing to do. Well that’s not strictly true, but at least no homework to do. I had longed for this moment every day of my senior year, but when it came I didn’t really know how to handle it. As I lay in bed yesterday morning, staring at the ceiling and realizing I had no left-over Physics problems to attend to, I tried to recall what I enjoyed when my life wasn’t utterly consumed by school. The first thing that came to mind was organizing. This was something I used to take an abnormal amount of pleasure in, but it did not sound like a fitting way to spend my first day of summer. Relief followed the submission of my last exam, but I’m still recovering. The joy is coming, just momentarily jumbled with the aftermath exhaustion.
P.S. The picture is what my Physics II teacher put at the end of her final exam.