Sorry to leave the school once hated, eventually loved
Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
I hated UMHB at first.
I chose it on a whim, a sense that it was the place God planned for me to go.
Transferring in during the spring of my freshman year, it didn’t take long before I started having second thoughts. The school was too small, the people too cliquish, and the football games nothing like watching the Aggies. More like watching my high school team. Actually, my high school was bigger.
In short, UMHB had none of the vanities I always imagined would accompany the college experience, and I made plans to transfer out as soon as possible.
Then something happened. I couldn’t leave. The Lord spoke clearly into my life through many ways and told me to stay. I hated Him for it. I felt shackled inside a prison of a Christian bubble I desperately wanted to escape.
Then, over time, something stranger happened. I didn’t want to leave.
Maybe it was the people, the unimaginable, overwhelming friendships with so many generous souls who invited me into their lives and loved me unconditionally.
Maybe it was the school, so small I could walk to any class or friend’s room in ten minutes, meeting a dozen people I knew along the way.
Maybe it was the football games, where I shook purple cans filled with who knows what, dressed in a ridiculous suit of armor, and jingled my keys at countless vanquished opponents.
Now, three weeks away from graduating, I think on the times I watched movies in the lobby of McLane, or when I made my first attempt at cooking in the on-campus apartments, and I treasure those memories more than anything.
I think on how the Lord has grown me as a man and a follower of Christ here, and all the conversations with so many friends who know more about serving God than I could learn in a lifetime. I think of how the Lord has guided me, brought me to this newspaper and filled my heart with a passion to serve Him through journalism.
It blows me away. I once hated this school, but now I cannot bear the thought of leaving, knowing how far the Lord has brought me here and how many fond memories I will carry in my heart.
I don’t worry that much about leaving a legacy; that is in God’s hands. I know that I am certainly not the most gifted writer, the most loyal friend, the most diligent student, or the most faithful Christian. I only ask that I be forgiven for my faults and remembered for the way God used me in spite of them.
In the end, the most important thing with which I will leave UMHB is not a degree. It is the firm conviction that no matter how much I fight God’s plans, no matter how completely I fail, no matter how little faith I seem to have in Him, He will guide me through the vast wilderness of life just as He has done in the confines of this university. And that is a lesson well worth the four years it took to learn.