"I like Indiana Wesleyan better", I said as dad exhales and replies, "I know, but we just ran the numbers and financially, it's just not possible". "What's your second choice?" my mother asks. In a defeated voice I say, "I guess it's MVNU".
As the first week of classes begin, I sit down hesitantly. The Professor steps towards me: "Hey Jake, I..." having no idea what he said after his first three words, I was dumbfounded that my Professor learned my name! He didn't have to know me, but he chose to, and that started to change everything.
I walked around campus, taking a final tour before classes began the next day. I walked passed Maplewood, the Eternal Flame, the Caf, and the Chapel, not thinking anything of it. While traveling through MVNU in 2014, I never thought these iconic campus landmarks would become some of the most meaningful memories of my life.
Somehow we manage to get 24 people in what seems like a 4x4 living room of Maplewood to play cards… knowing full well we would most likely talk about finals, religion, hopes, fears, weekend plans, dreams or whatever happened to come up in conversation knowing we wouldn't get to bed until 4 AM.
After a disagreement with one of my best friends we still decide to remain at the same dinner table, because no matter how bad the fight, we all have a place at the table.
As chapel begins, Joe Noonen tries to get the attention of everyone but we cannot stop hugging, laughing, and conversing with the friends we have not seen in four long summer months. As the band plays and we start singing together:
You are not alone in this / As brothers we will stand and we'll hold your hand / hold your hand.
I look around and see all of my friends singing, I can't help but think…
There is no place I'd rather be
We stand in the chapel one last time, with tassels and gowns in contrast to the messy hardships we all went through to get here.
And I think to myself, in the most unlikeliest of places, I found my church.
Thanks for being home MVNU,