Sunday, August 12, 2012

Goodbye To My Home

A break from the series I've been doing, a reflection on my recent move:

I cried when Candice and I moved out of our first home.  We had lived there for over four years and made so many memories there and spent so much time with friends that, though we were moving to an exciting new place, it was hard to leave. 
I start by explaining this because I want to make it clear what leaving Bowman House was like.

We had lived there for five years.
We moved in a family of two and we were leaving a family of three.
Some of our deepest friendships were formed while we lived there.
It was not just our home, it was my workplace.
It was not just my workplace, it was a place where I fulfilled my vocation, my calling.
Five different sets of men have moved in and moved out, they have influenced me and I hope I have influenced them.
I have walked through the halls numerous times and had conversations late into the night.
I have overseen five different leadership staffs, men who continue to inspire me, men I have opened my soul up to, men I think I have helped grow closer to Christ.

So you understand, if I cried when we moved from La Habra, I knew I was going to cry when we left Bowman House.
So I put it off.
I wanted to walk through the halls from top to bottom, but I avoided it.
I wanted to touch the walls one last time.
Sometimes when I know there’s a lot of emotion tied to something I’ll avoid it.  Sometimes it’s easier not to feel.  Easier, but not better.
I put it off so long that I almost missed it.
I was numb.

Our last night in Bowman House I told Candice I was going to walk through the halls and I grabbed my bible and left the apartment. 
I went to my office. 
I packed up some of my stuff.  I arranged some things to make it neater.  Then I looked around my [incredibly small] office.  I looked at the pictures past staff members and I had drawn during reflection exercises.  I looked at my posted reminder to clean my office (rarely effective).  I just sort of stood there in a daze for a while.
I was numb.

Then I went up to the chapel on third floor.  I sat there in silence.  I read the verses that had been painted on the wall.  I reflected on times I’d met God there, times when I’d been overcome with feeling and cried out to God.  I read a few chapters in my bible.  I got a little sleepy.  I figured I’d leave.
I was numb.

As I was walking out of the chapel I decided to go into the Leadership Lounge for a minute.  I walked across the hall.  I unlocked and opened the door.  I left the light off.  I sat down in my usual spot, a spot that would no longer be mine.  I looked around, for what I knew was the last time, the dark empty room where I had done business meetings every week for five years.
I crumpled in the chair and wept uncontrollably. 

Memories flooded in as tears flooded out.
How many programs have I planned in that room?
How many Man of the Week votes have I  officiated?
How many times have I led men in spiritual exercises?
How many markers have I thrown at a sleeping staff member?
How many times have I confessed my sin to groups of men in that room?
How many times have I received, or given, grace while in that specific seat?
How many songs have we listened to?
So many good times.
So many hard times.
Times I would never have again.

I touched all the walls.  I sat in all the seats.

I felt God telling me that this room was holy ground, that he had worked here, and that made it Holy.
I took off my shoes. 

I stood in the center of the room, where I would link arms with other men every Tuesday, and pray, and recite the House motto.  I tried to picture myself doing that one last time.
I couldn’t.
I curled up on the floor and wept.

Change is good sometimes, and as I sit and type this my ARD for the North/Male Townhouses will arrive in a few hours and we will think and dream and plan and start work for the year.  This change will be good for my family and good for me professionally. I had worked and asked and strived for this change.
But that night I couldn’t help but think I was crazy.
I kept repeating to myself, “I will never get to do this again.  I worked so hard to leave, but I will never get to do this again.”

I was used in that room. 
I showed young men the face of God and they mirrored Him back to me. 
I am a better man because of that building, the programming, the community, the culture that is created and fostered there. 
I am a better man because of the men I met in that room.  The men I saw open before God and each other.  The men I saw speak passionately about their residents and IWU and Marion and Christ. 
I am a better man because God brought me to Bowman House.
I wept.

I stood in the center of the room, where I would link arms with other men every Tuesday, and pray, and recite the House motto.  I tried to picture myself doing that one last time.
I stood alone in a dark room.
I linked arms with countless men who had gone before me, who had gone with me.
Loud and strong I said:
Where we go one, We go All!


Anonymous said...

STTOS "Tomorrow Is Yesterday"

Courtney said...

"Holy ground"

thoroughly loved the emotion of this entry...could very much relate.
Thank you Jared for your service to students (especially freshmen).

Grace and Peace.

Jared Begg said...

thanks for the comment Courtney. I don't think i saw it till today. it means a lot, i'm glad i checked it today.

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