Toward the Unknown Region…sounds pretty exciting, huh?

Sorry. I really am. I know its been a while since I started doing this and I’m only posting for the second time. I really do apologize. Forgive me? Anyways: life has been a bit crazy and its taken a while to format my thoughts on my last three weeks. Do you want to hear about my adventure? Sure, I’d be happy to tell you about it! 

Well, I’ll start at the beginning. Kind of. Over Thanksgiving break, myself and my family began the process of praying through our options about school. I am officially a Junior in college now, this was during my Sophomore year. At the time, I was attending an amazing school, which also happened to be very VERY expensive. I’ll get into that later. But yeah. We began to pray, and try to consider all options for schooling in regards to cost-efficiency and major, and I had the idea that I would go to school with my girlfriend, Tori. (By the way, she has a blog called “The Pastor’s Daughter,” and its pretty good.) This sounded like a great idea, so we ran with it. 

I brought the idea up to her, and she loved it! In discussion, we decided that it would be a good idea for me to look at getting an Associate’s Degree, and it ended up working out to where I had all the classes I needed to succeed. 

This is all well and good, and I felt right about the decision, but I had a few problems. I had a great job on campus, I was extremely plugged in, and there just so happened to be some insanely difficult classes in between me and my degree. 

I took a deep breath, and started trying to make dents in the issues at hand. I stepped down (Which was really hard, I loved the people I worked for, and I miss them alot already), and I really began to pray about what I could do and what I needed to do to get through. 

After a semester of scares about Science grades and chapel credits, I am proud to tell you all that I graduated! I finished my Associate’s Degree in General Studies, and I now can consider myself somewhat of a college graduate! I am not done, I will be headed to East Central University in the Fall to pursue a degree in English Education. I am aware that this is only a small victory, but with how hard I had to work to get to this point, I feel the need to relish this moment in my super comfy gown. (Not really, but I thought you would enjoy the picture of me dancing in a gown.) 

This has been a crazy few weeks, but as I sit here and think about the bright future, I also consider some of my great friend and memories made at SBU. I will really miss my first University. 

SBU is a small school in southern Missouri, only about 1,600 attendees at the Bolivar Campus. When I found out my college was smaller than my high school (Go Seckman), I was a little disturbed. Thoughts like ” is this going to be a farm town,” or “why am I doing this, I am a city boy and I don’t like little places,” came to mind when I was on campus visiting SBU. I was really worried, until I arrived at Welcome Week and all of my misconceptions were changed entirely. I fell in love with SBU from the outset. Seeing students who seemed to genuinely care about each other, and being at a school where Christlike community was stressed really became selling points in my decision to go to and really get involved at SBU.

I think about my time there, and I see moments where I really learned about myself and my work ethic. I think of times in Honors Composition where I had to work as hard as I could to pass, and when I did pass, I celebrated with my parents. I still have friends from that class today, that became my friends because of a mutual distaste for a teacher’s style. I remember moments in my dorm where friends on my hall would help me get through tough homework assignments, and the success I felt when I got good grades and brought them to those friends. I also remember moments in my job on the Welcome Week Steering Committee where I would be challenged on an idea that I had, and I needed to learn how to rework the idea to make it fit into the overall idea of Welcome Week, and not just what I wanted. These ideas and moments in themselves did not change me, but when I put them together on a timeline of my life, I came to the realization that each of those moments and many others really shaped me as a student and as a man. 

The major moments in my life at SBU are not the only things that affected me. I would say that the most vital part of my time at SBU was getting to know the group of friends that I still am in contact with. These people are too many to mention, so I won’t say any names, but as a group, these friends really helped me to understand some challenging life lessons, and I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without their help. 

I am sorry if I am rambling, I realize now as I type that I had more thoughts than planned for. I will miss one other aspect of SBU, and that is choir. I sang in two choirs at SBU, and the music made in each ensemble was not even the best part. Yes, I know that I’m saying I didn’t do choir for the music, but please bear with me. I loved choir for the beauty of the words sung and the friendships made. I spent alot of time with the people in the ensembles, and I would venture to say that we became one big, dysfunctional family. We grew so close and sang so well together: I really feel like that was the difference. Spending time learning about the music in cultural and historical context makes the music more meaningful. 

In discussing choir, I come to explaining my title: To the Unknown Region. This is the name of one of the pieces we performed in choir this year, and the lyrics come from poetry titled “Darest Thou now, O Soul,” by Walt Whitman. If you read carefully, the words present a journey, a story of a life moving on from the familiar into a place of newness. Here it is:

DAREST thou now, O Soul,

 

Walk out with me toward the Unknown Region,

 

Where neither ground is for the feet, nor any path to follow?

 

No map, there, nor guide,

 

Nor voice sounding, nor touch of human hand,

         5

Nor face with blooming flesh, nor lips, nor eyes, are in that land.

I know it not, O Soul;

 

Nor dost thou—all is a blank before us;

 

All waits, undream’d of, in that region—that inaccessible land.

 

Till, when the ties loosen,

  10

All but the ties eternal, Time and Space,

 

Nor darkness, gravitation, sense, nor any bounds, bound us.

 

Then we burst forth—we float, 

In Time and Space, O Soul—prepared for them; 

Equal, equipt at last—(O joy! O fruit of all!) them to fulfil, O Soul.  15

 

The words in this bit of poetry really struck me, especially in the period of transition I am in. It is hard, sometimes, to see the bright light at the end of the tunnel when the tunnel seems so bleak. With help from friends, family, and God, I think I am rolling through, and moving on to that bright end of the tunnel. 

If you are in a period of transition, do not fret. It will be okay! Change isn’t a bad thing, and you will get through it. Don’t be afraid to seek help, because sometimes, the destination is not nearly as great as the journey. Be excited, the future is ahead, and the path will bring lessons you never thought you’d learn. Don’t be afraid to step into the Unknown Region, knowing that your friends will be there to go on adventure by your side.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate you. 

 
 
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