We seem to be enjoying a slew of traveling weekends, and this week was our biggest trip so far! We headed down to East Tennessee to our alma mater, Milligan College. I’m not gonna lie, I love my school.
But I never realized that love in typical homecoming, let’s-all-wear-our-sweatshirts-and-go-to-class-receptions kind of way. I think it’s because we lived in East Tennessee for awhile just after I graduated, so it felt like I didn’t totally leave Milligan right away (and plus, I was newly married, so I was distracted from any intense oh-man-I’m-leaving-my-awesome-college-experience-for-grown-up-world feelings which may have filled my fellow students.)
So, while homecoming weekend was always fun (it usually entailed a visit from at least one set of parents, both while we were in school and the time following when we lived in TN), it wasn’t this sentimental experience.
Until this year.
This year it was:
a) the first time we’ve been to homecoming since we moved 3 years ago
b) my five-year anniversary from graduating
c) the first time Lucy has ever been to Milligan (to which she basically owes her existence since her parents met there, and her paternal grandparents did, too… plus my mom and older sister and cousin went there.)
This year was the first time I went to homecoming and found myself being emotional all over the place about the littlest things. I had started out totally fine- just thoroughly enjoying running into people I knew, professors, friends, Ryan’s friends, seeing olds haunts and favorite spots on campus, etc.
And then I went to the music department’s concert on Saturday afternoon, and bawled like a baby during the women’s chorale’s version of “Shenandoah.” Pretty much after that, it was all I could do to keep it together. To clarify, it was mostly being in Seeger Chapel (pictured above), looking at the grubby, tiny practice rooms (pictured below) in which I spent hours upon hours UPON HOURS practicing voice and piano… but in which I also wrote some of my first songs (aka songs I would admit to have written), and where I shared with Ryan the first love song I’d ever written for him.
My girls (who will hopefully not hate me for including this picture of us being goofy- meaning me being goofy because who takes pictures of practice rooms?) and I even got to sing together (one very brief, all-too-quickly-finished hymn) at one of those old uprights, illuminated by the simultaneously dark and yet garish fluorescent lights… But all those grubby aspects were made beautiful and even- somehow- holy in that moment. (And who can keep it together when that happens?!)
(Did you know there is such thing as a passive aggressive piano? Well, there is, and this is the proof. They always leave you notes with very correct grammar and punctuation with little keyboard banner borders printed on them. I think every practice room at Milligan houses one such piano.)
So many moments like that happened this weekend! (Mercifully for you, they weren’t all captured via crappy iPhone pictures.)
(Fall is GORGEOUS in Tennessee. Here’s the proof.)
Getting to experience that concert was indescribably wonderful. And it was only one part of the weekend! So stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow.