Okay. Let’s give a little context here.
So far, I’ve used this space to document the joys and lessons that have come out of a year at Pine Cove, both as a valued employee of their summer camping staff and as a sometimes-really-confused student in the Forge discipleship program. And those lessons are captured in digital print so that I can be called on ’em and held to them. But I’ve neglected to talk about what’s come after.
That would be non-collegiate life in Waco, Texas.
As a student at Baylor, I used to view this place as The City Around My College. Not so much as The City Where My College Is. There’s a subtle difference, but it’s key.
Assuming I get my demographics right, this place is majorly blue-collar, and we boast one of the largest per-capita populations of folks below the poverty line in the state, if not the U.S. We house a lot of weird things ranging from creepy (“You know what’d be fun tonight? Going to that bombed-out Branch Davidian compound while it’s REALLY DARK!!”) to peculiar (one of our local museums apparently has a painting done by Hitler. As in, Adolf). We are smack in between two Texan bastions of culture, DFW and Austin, and yet none of the interest or cool factor seem to rub off. And as a student at our prestigious Jerusalem-on-the-Brazos University, it seems like the only involvement you have with the community at large is if you treat it as a project. You don’t stay in a town that merits a “poor you” mentality. And you certainly don’t go back by choice after a year away from it. That’s lame.
But my apartment’s right by 35 now! And boy, those passing trucks on the freeway do lull me to sleep at night.
So why spend time here if not to get a fine Baptist education? Well, actually, that’s the goal.
With any luck and a little prayer, I start back at Baylor for an M.S. Ed in May. But the application’s not yet filled out, and until Friday, I got no GRE scores. God has a penchant for bigger plans than I usually envision, so this may not materialize. But I’m pretty confident teaching is the next step, so I don’t see why not.
Until then, I’m taming a wild newsstand at our friendly community Barnes & Noble for a few shifts a week and trying my hand at freelancing on the side. I may have recently found myself eating mostly peanut butter to get to the end of the month. But this kind of stuff is fun. I am seeing the value of trusting Jesus for daily bread in a community where half would settle for even a weekly loaf, and those at school might be tempted to think life is a giant Panera.
So that’s the scene. The backdrop isn’t glamorous, and I’m still trying to get a hold on my lines. But there’s a lot to learn still, even outside of camp gates.
Welcome to young adulthood, Part I. May the march toward maturity continue anew.