I was on the south side of town today and decided to take a drive down Memory Lane. It doesn't seem that long ago, though it was fifteen years, that I was a student at Taylor University Fort Wayne - a school that was closed last year and now sits empty. I drove down the streets where I had walked so many nights as a 19 year old kid heading to open dorm. I drove around the soccer field where I played for two years, the buildings I roamed for four years. I sat in the parking lot of the dorm where I lived for three years, learned how to skate, and met some of my best friends. I looked over at the former student commons where my first band played its first gig. I drove past the building that was married student housing, where Amanda and I had our first apartment.
I glanced back at so many scenes that had been so familiar to me during a very formative stage of my life - perhaps one of the most fun stages of my life - and I was filled with sadness that it was gone. The dorm has been closed for years - though it still stands, it was destroyed by fire several years ago. For the most part, it's all still there... but it's empty, like a corpse, void of the life that it held as my school. The buildings no longer belong to the institution that claimed a special place in my life, and many, MANY, thousands of my dollars... which are still being claimed every month. Even just to see it still teeming with life would have been far better. But it's empty; it's gone.
The older I get, the more I realize that life will bring more and more changes like this. It's a weird sensation... in my mind, it doesn't seem that long ago. Of course, it doesn't seem like that long ago when I was the youngest guy wherever I worked. Not anymore. Seriously, where did the last fifteen years go? If I stop to recount them, it actually does seem like a long time. But what shocks me is how fast it went by.
Regardless of the changes that may take place, and the things we may lose, a thought occurred to me during my reminiscing: Life is about what we gain through the things we lose. There's a chapter of my life that's gone. Taylor Fort Wayne no longer exists. I can't send my kids there. I can't walk through the halls anymore. I'll never have a hall named after me, which would only be appropriate after the many thousands of dollars I mentioned earlier. But I can look back on all that I gained through those years, my education being the least of them. I gained life-long friendships. I gained my best friend and life companion. I gained a depth of spiritual and emotional growth that has profoundly shaped who I am today. I gained a lot of awesome memories. They were good times. I wish it hadn't gone so fast.