This is a frantic time of year for seniors in high school. It’s the second time we’ve been through it as a family, so I kind of knew what was coming: the important senior photos, the graduation announcements and cap and gown ordering, SATs, ACTs, Common App essays and sudden shout-outs from my daughter who needed to know right now all sorts of information about where her Dad and I went to school and when. Then, of course, there is the cascade of college mail and conversations about what to look for and what was important to us as a family.
My oldest had had the opportunity to visit quite a few colleges on band trips, and she had friends from camp who came from lots of different colleges (both near and far), so by the time she got to her senior year, she knew for a fact where she wanted to go.
My youngest hasn’t been to as many colleges, but she also has influential friends from camp, and by the time her turn has come around now, she has narrowed the field to just two small, private, liberal arts Christian colleges–one nearby, the other, a five-hour drive.
We went to that school this past weekend, and had a great time. The informational, two-day visit did its job, because by the end of the weekend, my daughter knew exactly which school was her choice. She concluded, “This school is perfect for me in every way. But the other school feels like home.”
She isn’t choosing the school with the most beautiful dorms or biggest, most amazing tree-filled campus. And while there are some beautiful dorms on her chosen campus (which is smaller and more urban, but still lovely), she’s actually hoping to live in an older dorm that she’s come to love through visits with her sister. She’s choosing the place that, despite its shortcomings compared to the other school, has the life she wants to live–the community she feels like she can be her best self in. The one that feels like home.
When you feel at home, it doesn’t have to be perfect in every way. I think God knew that when he created families that we are born into–unlike our colleges and other communities, where there can be a certain amount of choice involved. God knew that families just need to accept and love one another, flaws and all, and that we can thrive together when we do that.
After all, it’s exactly what he’s done for us. John 1:11-13 says, “He (Jesus) came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”