For the College Student Coming Home for Thanksgiving

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes:-)

I was flipping through my notes this morning, and stumbled across a little something I wrote a few months ago that is strangely relevant to the college student coming home.

I’m not going to lie, because I’m not going to college my seasons have been all mixed up. The things on my heart have rarely aligned with other people my age.

But flipping through my notes from September, I found this one. Maybe I wrote it for such a time as this, for the college student coming home for Thanksgiving:

I’m sitting here, in the dusk, watching the Neapolitan sky fade at church. I’m sitting on this splintered step, listening to youth group in the distance. They’re playing gaga ball. I can hear their distant voices: “ga-ga-ball!” I can even pick out who is who’s.

I hear Luke shouting, “ooooh good game, Josh won!” I can here Jake making fun of some poor middle schooler. The senior high boys jumping around like maniacs.

I miss it, but it’s a strange kind of missing something. It’s nothing like the missing you have when someone you love passes away and you miss them. It’s not even the kind of missing that happens when someone you love, and who you know is going to die soon, passes away.

It’s the kind of missing of memories. Because I no longer belong at youth group anymore. But it still carries on without me.

I feel the same about Lutheran. It’s still there. I could still drive there every morning and walk through the halls. I could still go to football games.

But I don’t belong there anymore. Something inside of me has grown and breached the surface. Something has changed. It’s not even that I long to go to youth group and can’t anymore, it’s that I don’t want to anymore. But I still miss it.

Maybe those two things can coexist. Missing a place, and yet not wanting to be there. Missing a place, and yet having peace with the fact that you don’t belong anymore. And that peace doesn’t come from comfort that you belong somewhere else similar, or that you’ve replaced that space in your life. But that the season is passed, and to force it onward would disgrace the beauty of those moments.

It’s the same way with stories. They all have to end. And you can always tell when an author doesn’t have the strength to bite the bullet and end the dang thing. The story drags on for books and books, the characters chase in circles, and the story goes nowhere. It’s all a money-grab. Or maybe it’s too painful to end.

But a story that’s beautiful? That’s when an author ends the story at just the right moment, not a moment too late. The author knows their place in the story—to tell it. Not to force it. Not to manipulate it. Not to greedily wrestle it.

To be the instrument. Not the musician.

Good stories are told by authors who know they’re the instruments.

And this is how I feel as I sit here, under a Neapolitan sky, smiling at the memories.

To stay would be to sour. But to leave and look back is to varnish the memories so they sparkle forever.

There’s a reason God designed the seasons. There’s a reason things don’t last forever on earth. Maybe all these temporary things God created intentionally so that we would long for the eternity of heaven.

But as the seasons around you shift and it’s hard to keep up, remember the One who never changes. Don’t forget to spend time with the one solid pillar in your life.

There is grace in the change, because God never changes.

“Water Under the Bridge” by Amanda Lindsey Cook

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m so thankful for you<3

Published by Annabelle Healy

Annabelle Healy is 17 and loves to write fantasy novels mostly because high school AP classes and homecoming dances are too stressful. Her novels have received multiple awards including a gold medal from the national Scholastic Art and Writing competitions, placing her beside award alumni such as Stephen King and Truman Capote. She is currently publishing her debut fantasy novel, Far Below Human Eyes with Morgan James Publishing.

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