Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Unknown Days

Warning: This is a rambling, rather stream of consciousness, memory filled post....

I am sitting at a table in the Davidson College Student Union Cafe. This space used to be the office of the Athletic Director way back when this building was Johnston Gym. I started working in the AD's office as a work-study student right about this time of year 33 years ago. I helped the secretary with whatever needed to be done, filing papers, answering the phone, running errands, driving student athletes to doctor's appointments in Charlotte. As a college freshman, I am quite sure I never imagined sitting in this space with two of my children, drinking coffee, connected to the internet, writing a blog post on my personal computer.

For starters, there were no personal computers and no internet. Oh, and no cell phones either. I was doing well to have an electric typewriter and the phone on the hall was my connection to anyone beyond the campus. Unless I took time to write a letter.

I didn't drink coffee back then. I was a health-food, vegetarian, granola hippie type. I was on a meal plan but I don't expect I got my money's worth. The only vegetarian options back then were iceberg lettuce salads and overcooked vegetables. I had a hot-plate in my room (don't think they allow those now) and I cooked brown rice. I ate a lot of brown rice.

And speaking of the coffee I'm was a freebie this morning thanks to a connection from another period in my life that is now tied to this place. An old friend that we met, oh maybe 12 years ago when we lived in Massachusetts moved to NC before we ever knew we'd be coming back to this area. He's now the Director of Food Services at the Union. We ran into him when we walked into the cafe and he treated us with our drinks this morning. Thanks, Ed.

Interruption - a tall thin man carrying a camera just walked through the cafe area. I met him personally once. I don't really know him and he doesn't know me. I just know who he is. He's the older brother of the guy I dated my freshman year here, a guy I met on a blind date when I visited here as a senior year in high school. Too funny. I just leaned over and pointed him out to the boys. They had a chuckle.

And the boys that chuckled with me...Did I ever dream of children like them? Oh, no. I am quite sure that in my first year in this place, I never, ever, ever dreamed I would be the mother of six children, let alone six as wonderful as they all are. I hadn't even met the man who became my husband, though he, too, was a student here. We didn't really meet until my junior year when he was a fifth year senior, just returned from a life changing year away in rural Kenya. Once we got serious and broached the topic of children, I think we figured on two, three, or maybe four. But six! No, not in our plans back then. And here I sit now with my youngest two, anticipating (dreading) the day when they, too, will join their older siblings and head off to college and grown-up life. I have a married daughter, a son who's about to set off on a year working abroad, two in college, AND these two sitting at the table reading The Epic of Gilgamesh and studying PreCalculus. Wait a minute! When did that happen? Wasn't I just a college student here?!

I look around at girls in flowing skirts and flip-flops, guys in khaki shorts and t-shirts, hear the laughter, the banter, the talk about classes and soccer practice, grad school, and politics. Do they in their wildest dreams have any clue of what their futures hold? Will they predict futures for themselves that will be anything like the realities they will live in the years ahead? Probably not.

I'm heading out in a minute, back to the friend's house where we will have lunch and then afternoon homeschool co-op classes. I cannot help but remember, as I recollect in this place, these words from Psalm 139:

Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well...
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

I did not see ahead when I walked these halls and paths. I did not imagine the joys and sorrows, the people and places, the life ahead. And I cannot now see what lies ahead. But I marvel and rest in the hope that they are written in God's book, that the unknown days are known to him.


Rob said...

Wow what a precious opportunity to reflect on your life's journey.

Thanks for sharing this -- its really encouraging!

Jen Unsell said...

If someone would have told Bryan and I 15 years ago that we would one day have 6 children and homeschool them we probably would have laughed at the person. I am so glad we were wrong! ;-) Great post Beth! I wonder where we will be in another 15 years! The mystery of life makes it fun!