As I sat in the driver’s seat of my car this weekend as I embarked on my solo trek to the lake, many things were swirling around in my mind. I had just turned the keys in to my first and last college house, leaving my sweet college town that I have grown to love. I’m not the biggest fan of unexpected change (honestly I don’t think anyone really loves it), so when a change is coming my first instinct is to prepare myself for it.
For example, as I was planning to study abroad for my last semester of college, this past spring I made a bucket list of everything I wanted to do before I said goodbye to my “real” college life. Since college life as I knew it was pretty much non-existent thanks to Covid, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be. I made my bucket list and accomplished as much as I could within the last few weeks of the school year before heading home to embark on my new journey. When I left school, I felt at peace with knowing that college as I knew it could also be checked off my list as my next college adventure would be like waking up in a dream every day.
But, as I drove off from officially leaving my old college life behind, I felt this overwhelming feeling of reminiscent and gentle joy. It is something hard to describe, it’s kind of like when you are on the verge of crying at all times, but you know you are onto bigger and better things, so it is happy tears but also sad tears. You know that feeling? Maybe you don’t, but this feeling brought on a quiet car ride while I was sitting with the memories from the past 3 years of college.
There are so many memories, both good and bad, that have shaped me into the person I am today. I am so grateful for all the moments over the past three years, because without them I wouldn’t be the person standing before you. I wouldn’t cherish the lazy moments in the sorority house laying on the couch. I wouldn’t have learned how to find value in myself without a significant other. I wouldn’t have found out just how beneficial silence can be sometimes. I wouldn’t have grown in the depths of my faith. I wouldn’t have learned what genuine friendships look like.
During my drive this past weekend, at least 4 butterflies flew past my windshield. I focused on them more than I usually would, thinking I was seeing them consistently for a reason. I kept the thought of the butterflies in the back of my mind as I arrived at the lake, but they kept pushing to the forefront of my thoughts as they continued to surround me all weekend. Every time I was outside, there was a butterfly in front of my path. Even on my way home from the lake, more butterflies littered the highway sky. If you didn’t know, butterflies symbolize life, endurance, change, and hope.
Last week, I wrote about all the uncertainty in my life currently and these butterflies seemed to be a sign from God telling me to stop worrying about what is to come, because whatever it is, it is His plan. The change from college life, the hope for what the future will hold, and the endurance to stay strong in my faith during the most uncertain times.
So, to the girl who is reminiscing, life can be so funny sometimes can’t it? You think one thing and out of nowhere another thing can come and change your whole world. But maybe it is time to stop only focusing on the past and on what we think will come, and instead focus on the present even if we aren’t sure of what is going to happen right now. I think reminiscing is such a sweet thing we can do, especially with the help of technology. But just like a caterpillar has to change into a butterfly in order to fly, we too must be open to the change that will come with a hopeful and joyful heart.