On August 24th, I moved into a big community house a short distance from campus, with 13 other Gordon students to begin my Junior year. I had just returned from three months of work at a summer camp in Martha’s Vineyard where I experienced some of the best Christian fellowship and community to which I had ever been exposed. I was tired and a bit resentful of the fact that I had chosen to so quickly throw myself into another “intentional community.” I knew that it meant that I would have to start all over – get to know each of my peers on a deep level, serve them, be responsible for them, and depend on them. I had learned the summer before that living in a community in which each member is dependent on the other is exhausting, but ultimately highly fulfilling work. I knew what lay ahead of me as I unloaded my things from the car – all the challenges and the payoffs that awaited me.
As the weeks and months began to roll by, I realized just how thankful I was for this group of people who formed the fabric of day-in, day-out life. They were the backdrop of a year of self-discovery and of incredible learning that I will never forget. They were my playmates, classmates, cooking partners, prayer partners, and chore helpers. We grew together and as individuals learning more about what it means to be a daily servants, and life-long learners. Four people in our group were seniors. Although it is uncertain when I will see them next and how different our lives will be upon that meeting, I know that all it will take will be just one hug and friendly smile to send me back to the memory of this year of growth, love, and learning.
However, these housemates weren’t the only close friends to whom I had to say goodbye this May. During my sophomore year at Gordon, I joined a group of three other Gordon students-musicians who were beginning to make a splash in the local music scene playing in clubs and bars in Boston. I had been watching their progress and eventually tried to pry my way in by sneaking hints to the drummer (the only one I knew at the time) that they needed another guitarist to fill out their sound. He eventually convinced them to invite me to a practice, and a week after my casual “audition,” I began playing gigs with them, and helped them finish their first full-length album, which we recorded in the small audio lab in Jenks Library. It was a time of complete creative stimulation and bonding I knew I was going to miss sorely when we all split up this year. Calvin was going to go abroad to China in the Fall, and Tom and Dave were going to graduate early and leave that Spring – Tom to California and Dave to D.C. The band was as good as dead.
But this fall, to my surprise, we rose from the ashes. In September, with our bassist abroad in China, one of our songs landed a spot on a Boston “new music” mixtape and we began to get invites to do a music video feature, a radio spot, andto play a few shows. We were a man down, but we resurrected and kept the band going at least until the two others left, and then it would be only me left to hold down the fort, the lonely Junior.
One week ago, I had the pleasure of seeing all of these friends graduate – my very dear housemates and bandmates. But I couldn’t help but give attention to the haunting feeling that I may never see any of them again – friends, who in many ways formed me and gave texture, substance, and vibrant life to these shallow college years, which were doomed from the outset to fade into the recesses of the memory of a life lived and long past.
Will they always just be college friends, juvenile acquaintances of half-witted, young-adult, college Me? Who knows? They may be. They may only fade into the noise and color that fills the gaps between categorical insights: Gordon College…Wenham, MA…English major… So many things that matter now, won’t matter to me then, when I look back but I refuse to give the memories and the friends themselves to the ripping current of time’s voracious flow. They will always be mine: the house and the band; the floor-mates, classmates, and friends through the years.
I am indebted to the friends I have made at Gordon. They have made me who I am, and who I will be. And I eagerly anticipate one more year to come of such vibrant learning, growing, and relationships.