This afternoon marks just the second time I have returned to Wheaton after a break, the first being fall break over the penultimate weekend of October, and this most recent one being Thanksgiving. It's a different feeling, coming back to a residential school after being home for a few days. Not quite like coming back from a youth group retreat, but it's the closest similar situation. I am glad to be back, though. A year ago, I was in the midst of the period of waiting between application and notification, and now this 80-acre campus, recently decorated for the Christmas season, feels like home.
Home. It's an interesting word, isn't it? The Oxford English Dictionary defines "home" as "the place where one lives." I'll accept that. I do refer to the house where I grew up and where my parents and younger brother currently reside as home, and when I say "I'm going home," that is the geographic location to which I refer. But the reader knows what I mean when I use the phrase "feels like home." So there must be some other connotation to the word.
Note the use of the word "feels" in the idiom. So the object of the phrase, while not a replica, has some quality that resembles home. Wheaton College has many qualities that resemble my parents' house in Oak Park. Material things, of course, but obviously the phrase means immaterial entities that remind one of home.
So, what immaterial qualities does Wheaton College have that remind me of home? I could come up with a list of decent length, I'm sure, but at the top of it, without question, is people who love and support me and whom I love and support back.
I have said it before, and this is something else I will continue to say: it's the people around us that make life worth living. It's through them that God expresses His love for us, and we demonstrate our love for Him by loving the people around us.
And what better place to do that than at a place that feels like home? In the few hours I have been back on campus, I've reconnected with some of the other men on my floor, and I'm looking forward to seeing all my other friends here at Wheaton throughout the day tomorrow. I've had more than one tough week this semester, and this one is a prime candidate for that list also, but it's the mutually encouraging and supportive relationships I have, and the grace of God manifested through them, that get me through.
This is Rubio, over and out.