I’m honored to be contributing with Fathom Magazine today in their September issue focused on education. Here’s a preview of the article and a link at the bottom to read the rest:
In college, I spent hours among the earth-toned desks and warm yellow lights, wafting in the musky, alluring scent of old books. As an odd midwestern kid who grew up with more books as friends than friends themselves, college was an invitation to realizing my dreams and the sense of belonging I never had.
My small, Christian liberal arts college offered safe harbor for my eager love of learning. Instead of creating distance, books connected me to others. As a homesick freshman, I had found my first friend over coffee and the realization we both loved John Donne. The following year I spent hours with other enthusiastic nerds in the wooden booths of the cafeteria after theology lectures musing the mysteries of God’s simultaneous transcendence and immanence, the syrupy cafeteria coffee almost pleasant in the presence of such good company. By my junior year, I was a resident assistant, charged with being a spiritual and emotional support for a group of nearly thirty college women. For the first time in my life I began to feel like I almost belonged.
But midway through junior year, my health failed. I woke up one day unable to grasp a pen, my hands coiled into fists of pain and immobility. Within days, I could barely walk.
The body that had effortlessly carried me through the winding, steep paths of my mountainous college campus could now barely hold itself up in bed. The limbs that climbed limestone cliffs between classes now struggled to walk fourteen steps to the bathroom.
I couldn’t even open the books that held the currency of my connection to others. In my newly weakened body, the promise of education was quickly becoming a taunting memory…