So I went back to my college reunion this past weekend, Brenau's annual May Day. I planned this event for the last 4 years; I had planned part of this year's event before I left my position as alumni director a few months ago.
Still, it was hard to go back.
Sure, I was glad to see my former colleagues, and the students and alumni I had built relationships with over the years, and it was the 100th anniversary of my sorority's founding. I was happy to able to celebrate such a milestone for an organization that gave me some of my greatest friends for life.
Casey, who was my roommate at Brenau for 3 years, came up to go with me; and she brought her adorable girls. Her oldest Chloe is now 4 and is starting to spell words.
I'm a big "words" person, so I have pictures of words all over my condo. Chloe went around asking what each one spelled. She locked in on my many versions of "hope" spread throughout my place.
"Why do you have hope everywhere, Melissa?" she asked as she slowly spelled out the word.
"So that I can remember that I always need hope, Chloe. And hope comes from Jesus," I explained.
And hope is what I carried with me throughout that day at Brenau. Oh, and I carried that sweet little Chloe and her 2 little sisters quite often too.
As a college student ten years ago, I never pictured my life would have taken the turn it did. I never imagined facing all of my sorority sisters with families of their own when I was literally picking up the pieces of my shattered life to start completely over.
Hope. That's what I've got instead.
I was asked a few weeks ago by a new friend at Buckhead just why I was able to be so joyful and happy as often as I am.
And the honest answer is just Jesus. There really is no other way to explain it.
In that moment, I was reminded of these verses in 1 Peter 3:15...
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have..."
Dearly loved, with a reason to hope,