Thursday, August 18, 2005

hometown victories

It's so strange to be in a college town again--and not be a student. Make no mistake: I am GLAD. Ah, the freedom of walking on North Campus without a test lurking in the shadows, without a paper glaring from the sidelines, without a professor breathing down my neck (no offense to you, Dave Black!).

A college town is such a beautiful thing without, you know, being in college.

I'm mostly joking; I loved many things about being a student. I've always loved to learn. Thank God school didn't completely kick that out of me.

One of my friends wondered why I wanted to come back to Athens. For her, she said, it would feel like a step backwards. I don't know why I don't feel that way too; some of the very worst days of my life were spent here, times that I don't talk about often, but that still grip my throat in a vise of grief and pain when I remember them. This town seemed menacing and dark when I was first saved--the dirt was only freshly washed off my soul, and I recognized the same grime everywhere I looked. I longed for a clean place.

Yet this is the town where I met Ryan; where I first cut my hair as short as Gem's; where I came to really know Jesus Christ; where I prayed with friends and strangers on campus; where I was baptized in the Holy Spirit; where ice cream at Hodgson's is still twenty-five cents.

I consider it a personal victory--won by the blood of Christ--that I can walk these streets in perfect freedom rather than hellish bondage. This town has seen me go from the filthiest rags to the glimmering wings of a New Creation.

Maybe that's why it feels like a Hometown.