I’ve recently been stuck on a line from the season 9 finale of The Office. While it always gets me in the feels because I love that TV show, it’s really been hitting home for me in the process of senior year. Andy says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” However, I don’t think that I’m struggling to know that this period of my life is a darn good one. I know it’s an incredible blessing to have a 24/7 sleep over with my best friends while studying what I love at one of the best liberal arts institutions this country has to offer. That is not at all in question. I do find myself struggling with the question of impact, specifically expected versus actual. I came to Furman with the challenge to leave this place better than I found it. I have always taken that to heart, pouring myself into the organizations of which I am a part and jobs I have been privileged to have. I have kept this vision with me for the duration of my 4 years, my vision for what I could contribute. Never once have I substantially questioned my contribution in my time here. Until now.
As the series of “lasts” begins (particularly with marching band ending last weekend), I am forced to evaluate the effectiveness of my vision. Did I make the changes I believed in? Did I stay the course, not falling back into a cycle of just getting by? Can I move on with the impact I have made? Should I move on with the impact I have made? Do I even have a choice? The answer is no. And that’s a hard reality with which to come to terms. So it is in this time I make a statement similar to that of Andy from The Office, with just a slight change. I wish there was a way to know the times to make a difference before you’ve actually left them. As we come to the time where leadership roles and tour times and job titles are passed on to the next generation, you have to name that your time is up. You’ve done your best; and that is all anyone can ask of you.
You will never feel like it’s enough. But I have to tell you (because I’ve been learning): it’s not about us. Whoever told us that lied. It’s not about us changing marching band trees or making EVM stickers or passing mission trip ideas or receiving any recognition of the work we’ve done. Thankfully, my devotion reminded me this week of what it is about in a time when I needed to hear it the most. It said, “we often feel that life is a failure unless we’re getting a lot out of it: recognition, fun, money, success. But Paul considered life worth nothing unless he used it for God’s work. What he put into life was far more important than what he got out. Which is more important to you?” In light of this, I have realized the period of life that I am currently experiencing. I like to call it “the time of being humbled by God.” By the way, I don’t know if there is ever a time in life that we are not in this period. Nonetheless, I am being reminded every day that I will fail; I will miss chances to make a difference; I will let down the people I am supposed to be serving; I will be overwhelmed by great opportunities. But I am being humbled by God, and that is okay.