Return of the Zombie Quilters…
They’re back…and they’re hungry…only one thing will satisfy them…they want you. From campus to campus, the names sound like “Bronco Bash” or “Main Stage”. It’s the time right before classes start when all the clubs and organizations have a big blowout looking for fresh meat… uh, new members. Some are professional (Young Taxidermists), some political (Republican Druids for Peace and Pretty Good Karma), some artsy (Descendants of the Monkey Gods Performance Arts Troup), some social (Info Snatchers in Corduroy), some athletic ( A Capella Ping Pong) and some unexplainable (Zen Yahtzee, Fig Newton Line Dancers and, last but not least, Zombie Quilting Guild – I want one of their shirts.). Be it note pads and sticky notes, pens and pencils, mugs (good score!), low credit limit credit cards (Watch out here!) or free food, they all shove their flyers in our face thinking they can own us in exchange for a free foam drink cozy.
It’s not like the Young Economists’ Society is going to drink our blood or anything (However, be cautious and do not be taken in by the geeky plastic pocket protectors.) but they inadvertently will want something almost more important. Outside the classroom and its study demands, whoever and whatever gets us will get our time. Time stands as being more valuable than our money. We often don’t understand that until after we’ve wasted quite a bit of it. It’s the stuff of which our lives are made. We’re never guaranteed to have any more of it than we have at this very second. Nonetheless, how we spend it can make huge differences in whatever future God lays out for us.
That’s why right now, these first two or three weeks are important. During that time most students will quietly decide how they spend their discretionary time and with whom. An old story. Teresa of Avila, a sixteenth century Carmelite nun, stepped out to go to the privy (read outhouse or porta-john) with a prayer-book in one hand and a cinnamon roll in the other. While she sat there, Satan appeared and began to accuse her of scandalous irreverence. (Do remind me to share the punch line sometime.) Teresa. A prayer-book. A cinnamon roll. Satan. I’m thinking, “Man, this privy’s getting crowded!” Most students live in tightly stuffed bubbles that make a nun in an outhouse with a prayer-book, a cinnamon roll and the devil look like Montana. After a month or so, we’ve set our time usage priorities and socializing patterns; we’ve built our bubble and there is neither much elastic to it or room inside it. A few suggestions.
Study – Thanks, Einstein, great advice. No, really. Studying right now is our job and our calling as Christian students. It’s what got us on campus, and even if it isn’t (Some nail good grades without much studying.), it’s the only thing that will keep us there until graduation. Don’t slack on those required courses that we have to take, that don’t interest us at all. A Christian student knows that the whole world belongs to God and all its concerns; college gives us the most serious opportunity we’ll have all our lives to think about these things in a way that pays off big. These will help.
Manage interruptions. Much of life rises or falls with the answer to the question, “Who gets to interrupt what I’m doing now?” We just get rolling on reading or a paper and two or three people barge in the door saying they’re running downtown for a pizza. Why don’t we come along? We could use a study break anyway. Sometimes interruptions come from God (See Mark 5:25-34). Many do not. The possibility of dying in the next two hours if we don’t get pizza runs way behind the certainty that we will lose not only the time spent going for pizza but also a couple more hours trying to regain the intellectual momentum and train of thought running so well before a couple of dorm mates flung a pepperoni frenzy on us. Many responses offer themselves; most are not good. We could pull on a scary rubber mask saying, ” I am Kwangi, ancient and yet galactic poobah of chaos. Never disturb me again!” (This will grant us speedy admission to the university experimental mental health program where we will become test pilots for medications before they give them to hamsters.) You know those big inflatable gorillas they put on the roof of Speedways and 7-11’s every time a new one opens? We could rent one named Foznio and inflate him inside our room; no one could get in to even ask if we need pizza, food of any kind or even air. (Not practical. Foznio is expensive.) Or we could say, “No, I really need to study (Thereby reminding the pizza posse that they need to study also.) but could you bring me some back?” Learning to use the word “no” may help some of us graduate and all of us to go deeper with God. We will also have much better discernment as to when to say “yes”.
The God stuff. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) Hanging with Christians should get high priority in our bubble space. Throw out the cinnamon roll if we have to but don’t shortchange this. Make sure these happen. Worship – personal and with others. Just enjoy and love Jesus. Feed. Going to feed our body sometime between now and Christmas break? Probably. What about our spirit? Read individually, the Bible and other things. Focus on making contact with the Lord. Don’t try to do too much or get paralyzed with guilt over not doing it. An old puritan prayer says, “It is fitting that You should not regard me, for I am vile and selfish…(yet) when I find You there is no wrath to devour me, but only sweet love.” Get small. Lock in some time every week with four or five others who are hungry for God yet struggling. We will not believe how close we can grow to Jesus and these few. Exercise – serve and reach out. If we only do these other things without this part. we’re “ghettoizing” our faith and setting a trajectory that will reduce us to being wimpy Pharisees or whiny Jesus wannabe’s in the Christian ghetto for the rest of our lives. Not my idea of a party. Serving and outreach is exercise for the spirit; we build muscle and calluses right here. Spend time with those Jesus Christ runs hard after. One Sunday a bunch of us took part in a Right-to-Life protest where we stood along a busy street with signs. A young woman came jogging by but stopped to yell angrily at one of our college students standing next to me with a headset on. He couldn’t hear her so I nudged him and said, “Take those headphones off. You’re being persecuted for righteousness sake and I don’t want you to miss it.” The world will whack all of us sooner or later, repeatedly. College is boot camp where we learn to wipe our bloody noses on our sleeve, get back up in Jesus’ name and come back harder. Otherwise, when the evil one whacks us later, we ball up and retreat into the Christian ghetto. Sabbath. Sabbath is much misunderstood. Many think it means doing nothing on Sunday. Sabbath means pulling away from all normal work and life demand of every kind for rest. An old Greek proverb warns, “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.” Rest can be sleep (Aren’t Saturday morning sleep-ins the best?) Rest can be losing ourselves for a couple of hours watching a good movie, reading a novel (not necessarily a “Christian” one), sitting for a couple of hours with close friends in leisurely conversation in a coffee shop or going off alone to hike through scenery not swallowed by university buildings. Sabbath is restorative, a working of God’s perspective on things back into the clay of our lives.
And leave room for some fun, football games and gab sessions at two in the morning (when we could be studying). Even Jesus knows we need a cinnamon roll or it’s equivalent even if it comes in strange places. Sounds like sabbath to me.
By the way, some of the clubs named above are real campus organizations.
If you think this might encourage a student or someone who works with them, please follow, subscribe, share ,twitter and all that social network stuff.
Please return your seat to the upright position and return your infrared night vision goggles to the attendant at the rear as you leave. See you next post at geezeronthequad.com.