I've spent my last weekend in my campus dorm room, the place where I've lived for the last 8 years. I'll only be moving about a mile away, but sorting through old materials, throwing junk away, and packing up the stuff worth keeping sure brings back old memories. I came to Louisville way back on August 5, 2005, when my parents and I moved all my stuff into my Fuller Hall apartment. Not knowing the layouts of the building, I think we took the most inconvenient path possible, walking long distances and going up various flights of stairs. And we suffered the first night in the summer heat without an air conditioner or electric fan in the room. But as miserable experience as that was, the worst part was being left all alone when they departed back to Tennessee. It would be a few more days until my roommate joined me, and my other friends in town weren't able to fellowship with me for a couple of days. For the first time in my life, I was lonely. But I was also excited.
(I even blogged about it.)
|Probably best not to ask about this one.|
So much time has passed since August 5, 2005. Going through all my stuff brought back so many memories of the things I've done, the people I've met, and the events I'd almost forgotten. I've lived by myself for nearly five years, but I no longer feel alone. And I'm still excited.
|"Reformation Day" 2006|
I've been blessed with friends, many of whom are no longer with me physically, but always present in my thinking. As sappy as that probably sounds, it's true. When I get an opportunity to fellow with friends old and new, I savor it and remember it.
|Old Friends, One Last Photo, 2009|
I've been blessed with years of education and work experience. Long ago, I got the degree for which I came to town, and now I'm still working on that last one. The fact that I've not yet completed that second degree is somewhat of an irritation for me, but I nevertheless feel like I'm still at the right place in life, working hard now to prepare myself for what I want to do in the future. Back in 2005, I came to Louisville hoping that God could make me into a preacher rather than merely a good student. And I think He has.
Although I'm not ordained and have never served on staff at a church in a regular ministerial capacity, I believe myself to be a preacher currently working as a steward of other important assignments. In 2005, I felt lost in sermon preparation and especially behind a pulpit. It's been a long time since I've felt that way. To be clear, I do not consider myself a great orator or even a great biblical scholar. However, there is no situation in which I feel more alive than when I am standing before a congregation of God's people (or even some curious visitors) expounding the weight of the Scriptural text. In my estimation, God has already given me what I came for, and for that I have to thank the Lord for the people He has put (and kept) in my life over the past 8 years. But even though I've got what I came for, I now known that I've yet to reach the ultimate goal.
|Autumn at Fuller Hall, 2012|
I hope I can become a better preacher in the years to come. And I know the key to doing so is how well I'll be able to integrate my understanding of Scripture with my love for the people whom God puts in my life. In Philippians 3:10, Paul wrote of his own goal in life, namely "to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings." As I myself press on towards my own resurrection from among the dead, I pray that I'll continue to understand the power of Christ in me and those I love. Like Paul, I've not yet reached the goal or fully matured in that most important regard.
|Winter at Fuller Hall, 2013|
And so it's time for me to press on toward the goal that is never fully reached in this present life. I'm better for my 8 years in Fuller Hall 229, but I look forward to what God has in my future. I'm excited.
|Sunset over Louisville viewed from Fuller Hall.|