by Nikki Elliott
“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect”
Apart from the “G” word (cough...graduation), the only thing I have come to react strongly to throughout senior year is the superlative “last”—last football game, last time picking classes, last time walking to class as the fall leaves turn, last time having Christmas movie marathons with roommates during study days. To a certain extent, senior year can seem like a series of “lasts", a sad realization that the college experience is fading from tradition to memory. On the flip side, however, senior year has also given rise to what I like to call “bookends”, defining moments of realization about one’s own moral, spiritual, or intellectual transformation.
Many people argue that bookends mark the beginning and end of life in its entirety, but I like to think that life is full of many bookends—careers, journeys, milestones, projects, relationships, and yes, even our college years. Between these bookends we learn, we face challenges, we see new places, we meet new people, we fall in and out of love, we make choices, we fail, we succeed, and we just live out the day-to-day. Regardless of what happens, though, the in-betweens of bookends move us forward, give us new perspectives, strengthen our character, and shape us into who we are. Unlike the cliché “things come around full circle,” which suggests ending back where we started, the bookend metaphor implies a progressive, linear journey towards maturity from some moment in our past, and presents an opportunity to see truly how much we have grown and changed.
To share an example of my own, this past fall semester I was a teaching assistant for a CSOM freshmen Portico class—a class I myself had taken as a freshman at BC. Three years later there I was, a senior, sitting in the same classroom, with the same professor, working through the same curriculum, but with a very different perspective on the class conversations. So much had happened in my three years here at BC, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to recognize the transformation between my freshman and senior year self. These bookend closures are unique to each of us; they will come at different times and take different forms. What is important for all of us, though, is that we recognize these bookends when they happen because intuitively discerning how God is working within us, how He is renewing our minds and hearts, and how He is revealing His beautiful and perfect plan is one of the most rewarding gifts we are given.
Dear Lord, thank You for the “bookend” moments where we realize how much we have grown in Your love and how far we have come in Your beautiful and perfect plan.