I like the old me.

I just found this. I have been missing the old me lately, and missing hymns, and missing music, and very strangely enough, missing college. That last is just plain weird because who wants to repeat college. But I think I like who I was then… Well, my sophomore year anyway. I don’t remember any other year of my life with that kind of fondness. (Probably because I was falling in love.) I should qualify: I like who I am now, and I must say I’m glad age has made me a little less dramatic. (Marissa, if you’re reading this, shut up.) As Tennyson penned: “Hide me from my deep emotion, O thou wondrous mother Age.”

But missing simpler times lately, I enjoyed discovering this from April 2008 just now and thought I’d re-save it here. How to become this person again, well, I’m pondering that and hoping I come up with an answer.

I can’t think of anything better to than write a Facebook note at 11:30 on a night when my room’s a mess, my calendar’s packed with pressing assignments and deadlines, my body’s exhausted, and I have a Forsberg take-home test due 10 hours hence. This probably indicates some sort of internal malfunction.

I’m thinking–as I’ve been thinking basically since last September, but more and more and more and more with every passing day, month, season–that “I cannot but rejoice” (to quote William Cowper who, incidentally, lived most of his life in deep depression). This is what Bob Reymond would call “living on the joy side of the Christian life.”

I wasn’t always like this. Before coming to college I tended to focus on the negative–the challenges and trials, as if they weren’t supposed to be there and is if they were the whole of the picture–like a performer hung up on the seven two-second mistakes in a 7-minute masterful performance. Definitely a skewed perspective, as I see it now, though that too was my perspective before coming to Olaf.

Then there was freshman year, which was my “heroic period” as Alice might call it: my life-and-death fight to overcome the huge obstacles (real or just perceived) I faced in this new universe called really-scary-adulthood. I’d have to say I was travel-weary after that year of fighting because the summer of 2007 was the most spiritually dull and lifeless time I can remember. Yuk. Do not want to go back there.

Getting back to school in the fall seemed to usher in a totally new “me” suddenly: in love with life. I say suddenly because it so clearly began with my return to campus in the fall. But the change has been continuing every day ever since and I think it wil continue till the day I die: as I’ve reflected on it (almost always in context of music of some sort, be it Casting Crowns’ Voice of Truth as I’m moving my dad’s library home over Christmas or tonight’s Cantorei concert) I’ve put a finger on why I’m sure this is an irrevocable yet dynamic state: it’s Christian hope; it’s knowing Christ and walking with him; to sum up, it’s everything that I heard and sang in Boe today:

Daily chapel started it: Song of Solomon: “set me as a seal upon your heart.” Love is as strong as death. A reflection on the power of the love of Christ in conquering death that we may live forever transformed by that love. That, for sure, is the love that has caused me to be “in love with life.” Because with a love so strong as Christ’s all of life takes on that tint. Everything becomes a variation on one theme: “Jesus loves me,” or “God is amazing.”

It was a strange and dreadful strife when death with life contended, but victory remained with life, the sting of death is ended.

Then the Cantorei program. It was one of the most beautiful, cohesive sequences of texts and ideas, musically presented, I’v ever enjoyed. And it, too, presented the root of this irrevocable state… To quote:

Be silent, be patient, wait, watch

Words of power that can never fail
Let their truth prevail over unbelief

Teach us, Lord,
full obedience
holy reverence
true humility

By grace we’ll stand on your promises
And by faith we’ll walk as you walk with us

Jesu, save us all through thy virtue
Jesu is mine paramour

There is a balm in Gilead

All of us share a longing for love

Only I need and kneel again
Thy touch to win

Heaven is our home, though untried

While still here there is work to be done

Behold them, countless hosts dressed in white
Songs are on their lips, praising his might

We were there at the crucifixion. And if we believe, we are there at the resurrection also.

Jesus is giving life to the living

Come welcome the world
Come leave what you cling to
Lay down what you clutch
And find with hands empty that hearts can hold much

All tears are dried, despair redeemed

On his shoulders gently laid and home, rejoicing, brought me

The King of love my Shepherd is
whose goodness faileth never

Sometimes that love can be tough.

Indeed his mercy and his truth shall remain with us

Alleluia

An encounter with God leads to praise. We can’t help it. We were made that way.

Or to quote Ferg, “Ah….” (If you sang Psalm 130 in Cantorei you get that reference.)

I’m struck the farther I get–the deeper–in knowing Christ (and by knowing I mean walking with Him, and by that I mean finding that He is walking with you, and by that I mean the constant sense that He is with you in everything and that of him, and from him, and to him are all things (Rom 11:36)…) …the deeper I get the more sure I am that life is in a constant state of “cannot get better.”

Alleluia, song of gladness, voice of joy that cannot die

But it always does get better. Even when there’s horror to deal with… Things like death, betrayal, doubt, fear, pain, exhaustion, loneliness, confusion, anger. Taxes, assignments, bills.

But I nothing lack if I am His and He is mine forever.

Or as Paul said, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Be ready and await that great day
when we meet the Lord in dawn’s ray
Purest joy without dismay
The warm welcome in heaven

Until then life will keep getting better, despite bumps in the road, even when the bumps knock the wind out of you and leave you flat on your back gasping for a breath of fresh sense or certainty or peace or joy.

Sometimes I feel discouraged
and think my work’s in vain.

Don’t ever be discouraged
for Jesus is your friend.

And then there’s heaven.

In Zion, Lord with you we’ll abide

Good shepherd, may I sing thy grace within thy house forever.

The King of kings and Lord of lords, Christ our God cometh forth to be our oblation and to be given as food for the faithful. Before him come the choirs of angels, with every principality and power. The cherubim with many eyes and winged seraphim, who veil their faces as they shout continually the hymn…

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

And that, in a very large nutshell, is why I am irrecoverably in love with life.

One of these days I’ll get down to studying, academics, responsibilities…. those things that are typically supposed to fill a college student’s time. Mine seems to be much more full of contemplating and basking in how amazing God is. Honestly, my grades could be better. But I think my heart is exactly where it belongs. So grades will have to stay where they are.

My room, nonetheless, should probably be cleaned.

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