Editor’s Corner: Holy time, holy place

Amy Forbus

Amy Forbus

Time surrounds humanity much like air: We take it for granted, not really noticing it until something changes and makes things personal. And time got personal for me in a new way in April, when I attended my 20-year college reunion.

For the record, we all agreed we look exactly the same as we did when we were in our early 20s, and we couldn’t imagine why anyone would think otherwise.

I can’t be the only one of us who sometimes wonders how we get away with putting on grown-ups’ clothes every single day (what happened to jeans and a baggy t-shirt qualifying as a respectable outfit?) and pulling one over on the world. Yet we manage to educate children and youth, and perform surgeries, and run nonprofit organizations, and represent people in court, and edit publications, and pastor congregations. We raise kids and sell houses and write prescriptions and manage divisions of companies, or entire companies. Some of us produce television or theater. Others of us perform: research that helps save lives, or our own original music on stage.

A classmate I’d seldom seen in the last two decades stayed the weekend with us, providing reconnecting time that we relished. As promised, she brought fresh eggs, courtesy of the girls who live in her backyard coop. And she came bearing a surprise gift, too: a beautiful and creatively designed journal. (Fellow English majors know the pleasure of a good journal.)

Saturday night’s party provided confirmation that some things never change, and also that some things do —but that change is OK, even preferred. And that staying out too late is exactly what one needs every now and then.

And then came Sunday. Tears brimmed during the sermon at the alumni memorial service, with the dean of the chapel bringing home the Scripture in a new way: God began a good work in us here, in this place. And that work made this place, for us, holy ground.

We knew before we came that one of our classmates’ names was among the dead. We stood as his name was spoken. So did the entire pew two rows in front of us, confirming our guess that his family was there. Afterward, we expressed our condolences to them, his daughter predictably shy, his mother and brother eager to connect with someone who knew him as part of this campus, those four years, that particular kind of holy ground.

There are moments we do recognize holy ground while we’re standing on it. But I think, more often than not, the realization comes only as the banner of time unfurls. What a privilege to be able to return, and recognize, and give thanks.

To reach me, send an email to aforbus@arumc.org.