This past weekend I went to Nashville, Tennessee, for the first time. (The picture up top is the only one I took of any scenery, and it’s not even that good of a shot. Haha. Belmont is a beautiful campus and I wish I had done a better job of capturing that.) My traveling companions were 2 guys that have easily become some of my best friends at App. I didn’t realize it before I left, but this trip was exactly what I needed–I think we all needed it.
As the close of a semester approaches, everyone can feel the weight of “the end.” Professors seem to pile on the homework, The group projects seem endless, and it feels like there’s not enough paper in the world to write everything you have to. But somehow, we manage. We make it, we pass, we move on…we hope.
When I was asked if I wanted to go on this trip, my immediate reaction was “YES!” without a hint of hesitation. How often, if ever, would I get the chance to go to Nashville with two of my favorite people? So, I hopped on that train and road it all the way to the 615. (615 is the apparent zip code for Nashville, according to google). The road trip was great. My friends and I laughed, talked, jammed so hard to music, laughed some more, and just enjoyed each other’s company.
Now, here’s where it gets tricky. I’m going to do my best to explain what I felt…
As we approached the city, everything changed. Sure, getting away from Boone was nice, but there was a noticeable difference in the air. It seemed to seep in the car and replace the air we had brought from the mountains with something a bit more thick, something a bit more tangible. It was refreshing. I’ve always been drawn to the city and fully plan to move to one in the near future. Every time I go (to a city, that is), I get the same feeling that affirms how much I want to be there.
The atmosphere is dense. It’s raw. It’s exciting. It’s alive. It’s creative. It’s talented. It’s real.
I’m drawn to that. My idealist, optimistic, and passionate mind has a hay day in an environment like the city. I’m drawn the streets that are endlessly filled with cars and the corners that are occupied by clusters of buildings. I’m drawn to the quick paced vibe of natives trying to get from point A to point B, and the leisurely meander of those just taking in what their city has to offer. I’m drawn to the moments of quiet that you’re forced to find because adventure seems to drip from the trees. I’m drawn to the settlement of being on the move. I’m drawn to the fact that I have to wake up, that I have to step out of my comfort zone, that I’m propelled to elicit confidence that’s always been there, but needed inspiration to fully be present…
…confidence that’s always been there, but needed inspiration to fully be present. Nashville brought that out in me, for sure, but so did the people I met in Nashville.
Quality. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about the people I spent time with. I’d heard stories about some of the people that I met, so of course I had some idea of what I was getting into–but my idea was much smaller and duller than I anticipated. My newfound friends are genuine. They’re excited about life, they’re welcoming, they’re talented, they’re passionate, they’re driven, they’re relatable, they’re mature, they’re wise, they’re…quality. The people that I met get life. They get that it’s exciting and that it’s beautiful, so they go at it head on. They attack it, armed with the talents God’s given them, but also understanding of the fact that when life gets hard Christ is the foundation they stand on. Being around them forced me to take on that mentality, it was impossible not to be infected by their contagious degree of understanding–it’s beautiful.
I love that I was infected. Being infected has recharged my excitement about life. It’s encouraged me to look forward to what is to come. It’s inspired me to continue to pursue what I want to do and glorify my Savior along the way. That’s another thing about the people that I met, the evidence of there love for Jesus didn’t have to be talked about (although it was), because you could see it, you could feel it. I was able to witness and be a part of beautiful conversations about hardships, friendships, life, the Lord, His goodness, and the way He blesses his children. It was awesome. This past weekend was one large moment of life that I am so thankful that I got to be a part of.
And if I’m being honest, it’s really hard to be back. It’s really hard for that moment to have ended.
While I was in Nashville, I slept on a couch for two nights. Last night, I slept on the couch of my living room trying to recreate a small experience of the weekend. Was that foolish? Was that silly? Was that immature? Was it cute? I don’t know, maybe. But what I do know is that leaving a place where my heart felt full, and free, and at home was really hard–and I was only there for 2 days. I felt similar feelings when I left Chicago 2 years ago and Richmond last year.
And those feelings are hard to organize. I believe the Lord has me in Boone because that’s where He wants me to be right now, but I don’t necessarily want to be here right now. I had a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago about how ready I am for “the next thing.” I’m ready to go to a new place, figure it out, meet new people, develop relationships, look at life differently, and take what I’ve learned and continue to learn. Going to Nashville felt like a teaser-trailer for this desire of mine. How many more trailers will I get to watch before I can finally see my movie premiere in theaters? I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out. As sad as I am to no longer be in Nashville, how cool of a perspective I now have to apply here in Boone.
What’s my point? What’s my perspective? This: Life is meant to be lived. It’s meant to be experienced. It’s meant to be shared and loved and enjoyed with people and by people from all walks of life. How pleasant and beautiful it is for brothers to dwell together in unity, right? I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re anything like me, don’t be discouraged. Have faith in God’s timing. Be inspired in the ways that He makes you wait. Soak up the moments that cause your heart to feel full, and free, and at home. Process the times that are hard and disheartening, but don’t fail to forget the enormity of Christ.
So, Nashville, thanks a million for the great weekend. Thanks for the lessons, the laughs, and the inspiration. Until next time…
[Jesus, thank You for the beauty of friendship new and old. Thank you for blessing me with the people I have in my life. May I love where I’m at the way that you do, but also look forward to the joys that You have waiting for me.]