My first day away from home, I watched my family drive away in their car, knowing I wouldn’t be living with them anymore. I went to my room and tried to put on a brave face, but just cried until my roommate and his family arrived. Haha. That first week was so tough – leaving behind my family, my friends, my life, all to start over.
Yet that week was also filled with such wonder and joy! I remember thinking, “This is my home!” as I explored campus and the city to find a new adventure every day. I finally felt like a real adult on the first day of classes. Time passed, I made new friends and had deeper friendships than ever before. I fell in love with Jesus in a way that I never dreamed possible for me. This place became a new home, and four (or five as it turned out to be) years felt like an eternity. Now here I am again, on the cusp of leaving, and I don’t want to go.
As I talked to a friend about how hard it is to leave the other day, he reminded me of the Transfiguration. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up the mountain to pray, Moses and Elijah appear, God reveals His glory, and what does Peter do?
“Let’s build some tents and stay here!”
My goodness I love Peter. Here are all of these incredible things happening and Peter, very naturally, asks to stay. This is the most beautiful experience he’s had – of course he wants to remain there. Yet Jesus calls him to leave, to continue his mission. Jerusalem awaits, along with every other place Peter is called to go. This encounter on the mountain prepares him for the journey ahead.
St. Mary’s is this kind of experience – it’s a mountaintop. It’s a beautiful mountaintop, but the whole point of being here is to prepare us to go out and live as missionary disciples.
I find that I’m like Peter when it comes to my friends and my life. These past few years have been a blessing, revealing to me not only the heart of the Father, but my own heart as well. St. Mary’s is very much a place where God reveals His glory. And now… Well now it’s time to go, but like Peter, I don’t want to leave. If Peter never left the mountain though, he never would have grown into the man Jesus was calling him to be, The Rock (Sorry Mr. Johnson, it was Peter’s title first).
The mountain gave Peter the strength to carry on. Whether you are graduating and leaving, or going home for your first summer, you are called to come down the mountain and go out into the world. New home or old, you will face new challenges and new adventures.
On the mountain God reveals His glory and tells us to listen to His Son. He promises it will be difficult (John 15:18-20) but asks us to remain in Him, even as He sends us out (John 15:1-17). When we find ourselves troubled, he comes to us saying, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19,21; Luke 24:16; John 14:27; John 16:33).So yes, it is time to leave, but be at peace. Remain in His love. Carry this precious time in Aggieland with you as you go where God calls you. Rejoice for the gifts that you have been given, and pour them out into the world.
It’s time to climb down the mountain.
Greg is a recent graduate of Texas A&M and a two year intern at St. Mary’s. He plans to move to San Antonio, TX and pursue graduate level studies in English.