Well, I came home for the summer thinking that this three and a half months would go by slower than ever. I was excited that the stress that came with school and finals had finally come to an end, but I honestly felt discouraged about my summer. When I would listen to the plans that my friends had, mine most definitely paled in comparison. People asked me what I was doing for the next three months and I would answer quietly, “I’m hanging out at home all summer… and working at Chick-fil-A.” I felt like I wasn’t measuring up, like I should have considered going on a mission trip or studying abroad so that I could “keep up” with what everyone else was doing. But this is one of those times in which I am so, so glad that I don’t have control of the plan for my life- God does a much better job with that whole “look at the bigger picture” concept that I constantly struggle with.
Overall, this summer was great- it was simple, but nonetheless great. I think that before I went off to college last year, I didn’t fully understand what it meant to have passion for the things you do. I’m not exactly sure what turned me into the type of person who did things simply because I knew it would look good on a resume, but I had become that girl without even realizing it. Fortunately, I was opened up to a new world at Carolina- a world that thrived because of the spirit and excitement that came from the student body- I mean, when you’re that good at basketball, how could you not be passionate? :) Anyway, I brought that love for life back home with me for the summer, and it served me well.
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
As soon as I embraced the reality that was my summer, it just got better from there. I had worked at Chick-fil-A for my entire senior year of high school as well as the summer leading up to my freshman year of college, and I had honestly never appreciated it enough to establish friendships with my coworkers. But this summer was different. I found that when you spend almost 40 hours a week with the same people, you all become friends pretty quickly. All of the college students that had come home for the summer clicked pretty quickly, and it wasn’t long before I was hanging out with these people outside of the workplace- something that I never did in the entire year and a half that I had worked there before. My boss seemed to notice that I had a greater appreciation for my job as well, because I earned a promotion about a month after I had come home for the summer- I’m telling you, this whole being passionate thing really pays off (literally)! When our store operator received news that he would be switching ownership and moving to a different Chick-fil-A, our group only became closer friends as we all followed our operator to this much smaller, much older store. Even though I was very hesitant to leave the store I had been at for so long, I found it fairly easy to make the switch simply because I couldn’t imagine not working with the group of people that I had come to know so well. …so you can only imagine the difficulty that I had this past Saturday when all of us college students had to say our goodbyes. I’m not very good at telling people goodbye anyway, but this was honestly much harder for me than I thought it would be. I put on my brave face and gave hugs to everyone and walked out to my car, and then I just sat there for a good 5 minutes and all I could think about was how heavy my heart felt to leave.
I think that the reason situations like these are so difficult is because we have a fear of being forgotten. It sounds a little depressing, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense- at least in my case. The greatest challenge that I’ve had throughout this period of being in college has been the constant changing of my environment; it always seems that just as I am becoming accustomed to one place, it’s time for me to move to a different one. As soon as I had fallen into my little routine at Carolina, it was already time for me to come home for the summer. I prayed that the Lord would help me to be content with where I was at this summer, because I didn’t really want to be spending my summer at home working when a lot of my friends seemed to be doing something much more exciting. And now that I’m content and comfortable with my “summer life,” it’s time for me to pack up everything and head back to Chapel Hill. It’s actually a really good thing that I’m being forced to embrace these changes, but I think that it definitely highlights my fears of being forgotten. When I left UNC for the summer, I always had this worry that when I returned for the fall semester, life would be completey different; I feared that three months away from everyone would change the close friendships that I had established throughout the school year. And as I sat in my car after my last day of work on Saturday, I found myself wondering if it bothered anyone as much as it bothered me that we were all having to leave each other and return to school. It’s hard to leave what feels comfortable, it really is.
I think there’s a lot that I can gather from my summer here at home. First off, God has a plan for us- plain and simple. Every time that I question why my life is going a certain way, the Lord always seems to find a way to give me that moment when I realize that He really did have a reason for putting a particular person in my life or sending me to a place that I never thought I would end up; it just proves that even in your darkest hour, God is watching over you and he has a plan for your life, even when you have given up hope. Secondly, after realizing how great of a summer I had simply from being passionate about what I was doing, I’ve decided to just embrace the changes that come to me in life. Actually, it may be more of a challenge that I’ve issued myself rather than a decision, but nonetheless, I want to embrace life. There are always going to be changes that I’ll have to deal with whether I want to or not, and I truly believe that life is better when you learn to take what you have and make the most of it. Even though I’m a little sad to be leaving my amazing family to return to Chapel Hill in a few days, I’ve decided to just embrace it- I know it’s going to be a great year at school, and there’s no need to dwell on the fact that summer is coming to an end. Lastly, we shouldn’t fear being forgotten. Fears like that come out of plain insecurity, and we all know that insecurity can be quite a beast to tame at times, but in reality, having those insecurities gets us no where in life. I don’t know if my friends at work were as upset as I was about leaving to go back to school, but I do know that they valued me as a friend; if nothing else, the friendship that I had with them this summer cannot be devalued. God puts people in our lives for many reasons; some people are only there for a short period of time, and others may be life-long friends; either way, these people changed your life in one way or another, and maybe that’s more important than worrying about what the future holds for any individual relationship.
So, there’s my spill on summer. I’ll miss home. I’ll miss sleeping in. I’ll miss walking outside and the temperature being so high that I break a sweat simply by walking to my car. I’ll miss driving everywhere (college life involves way too much walking from place to place). I’ll definitely miss my family. But hey, I’m about to go to CHAPEL HILL! …I’ll save all of the things I love about Chapel Hill for another post though. :) Goodbye summer, hello fall semester!