After a wonderful, wonderful vacation with my family after my graduation from PHC a couple weeks ago, we came back and I've spent the last two days cleaning out my room and making it post-PHC mine again :) Dr. Libby's books have been added to my collection, I have a desk space of my own, my clothes are all hung up. The last thing I had to do was sort out the papers, syllabi, cards, and other mementos I'd brought back with me over the years. I left it for the very last thing--I procrastinated until I couldn't anymore, because I didn't feel emotionally up to revisiting everything. A couple hours ago, I heaved a sigh, planted myself on the ground next to my three piled over boxes, and got started.
It's amazing, the accumulated miles of ink traveled the past four years. I went all the way back to freshman year (my printed Spinney lectures got my special folder--the Avengers one). I found the first thing I got back that year: the 1st Spinney exam, and I still remember how stupefied I was at my grade - the lowest grade I'd ever gotten in my life. But then I pulled out the only A Spinney paper I wrote: the Sowell paper, and felt the same rush of exhilaration I did when I pulled it out of my mailbox. There was growth, in the space of a year.
I found my PBR presentation on Rand, which also earned an A. I loved that paper, because then I began to learn that one can show compassion to an angry nonbeliever and still maintain the integrity of your faith.
I found my Junior year papers from Dr. Libby, and teared up a bit at those--those gentle words that praised unreservedly where it was deserved, and gently pruned and shaped where needed. I loved her, because she showed me grace and strong womanhood and gentle intellect--and told me I had those too.
And then there was all of senior year, which is still a little too close for comfort. All the things from Dr. Libby's passing are right next to my knee, propped up against the foot of my bed--the Herald article, the program from her memorial, and underneath all the cards and papers and grades I'd gotten from her. There's the folder from Dr. Mrs. McCollum, picking up the pieces of the Faith and Reason paper I'd begun and helping me tie them back together again in the light of who Dr. Libby was. There's Dr. Mrs. McCollum herself, whose unabashed integrity, fearlessness, graciousness and confidence in my abilities had me moving forward again as a scholar and a woman when I had been really vulnerable and shaken. There was also that delicious Faith and Reason paper that taught me about beauty and grace together, in the holiest sense.
And now I'm back in my little purple room again, back in California with my charmer of a cat looking warmly at me from his perch on my bed. I'm surrounded by physical manifestations of God's love in every one of these papers and syllabi and all the cards I have from all of my dear friends--Lauren, Emily, Meredith, Lacy, Tatum, Ali, Hannah, Anne, Nicole and others--and I'm shaken all over again at all the things He's done. It's a new page, yes, but every page has to build on the one before, right?