A View and a Door

I never realized how empty and quiet a coffee table could look.

I’ve written before about our love for books and how dull women have immaculate coffee tables. Our coffee table always has a minimum of 20 books (usually more like 40) on it. It’s square and sturdy, a well-lived and loved table. What I didn’t realize is how many books would be going out the door with my son, leaving a quiet coffee table.

My husband dropped our youngest off at college yesterday morning – I was to join them later in the day for parent orientation. When I asked my husband what Jonathan’s room was like he said enthusiastically “It’s great! It has a view and a door!”

For almost six years Jonathan has had a basement room with no view and no door, only a black curtain for privacy. This fifth child of ours is now living in 8 by 13 feet luxury!

By the time I arrived in the afternoon he was completely unpacked. Every book put on a shelf, every shirt hung up, and a bed made with crisp new sheets and comforter.

Who is this child and where have they taken my son? His room at home did not look this way.

I’ve been thinking about those two things: A view and a door. For they are a great picture of what college and life beyond mom and dad should be for a kid. A view of what can be and a door to get there.

Jonathan has chosen to attend an Orthodox school, Hellenic college, located on a beautiful campus in Brookline just outside of Boston. In distance he’s not far from home, in every other way he’s a million miles away. Hellenic sits apart on a hill, the gold dome of the chapel rising up to the sky. The view of Boston from the hill is stunning, one of the best views in the city.

The college does not just sit apart geographically. It’s entire ethos could not be more different from your average college, for this college experience is not about finding yourself. Rather, it’s about finding a way to serve Christ, the church, and society as the unique person God has created you to be, whether this be through business, science, medicine, art and more. The maroon and gold t-shirts worn by orientation staff bear the college logo and name on the front, and on the back “Through the cross, Joy”, a remarkable statement for college-age young adults, indeed a remarkable statement for any of us.

We sat through orientation and heard from a number of people from the dean to director of housing. The thread that tied all these together was finding your calling in Christ through vocation.

A view and a door. I have no doubt our son is already enjoying his view and his door, basking in sunlight coming through a large window and in the privacy that a door affords.

Far more important, he’s begun a journey that offers him a view and a door to so much more. Maybe it’s what we all long for in our souls – a view of something larger than us and a door to get there.

Readers – thanks for coming along on this journey with me by reading. There are many thoughts that aren’t making it to the page, but those that are have been met with tremendous support from you.

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10 thoughts on “A View and a Door

  1. What a beautiful way to look at college! When my daughter was looking at colleges she had the good fortune to be invited to Swarthmore for a recruiting visit (she played softball). While she eventually selected the University of Chicago, we developed a fondness toward Swarthmore and its Quaker principles. Over time we have grown to wonder if that may have been a better atmosphere for her. I love schools that try to address personal growth and success in areas beyond the academic aspects of the college classroom!

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  2. Entering a new journey with your (& hubby’s) youngest “out”. Saying a special prayer for you tonight.
    Been in Fairbanks, AK for 2 weeks visiting our eldest and spouse.

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  3. I must admit that his is not the type of school I was looking for back in the day, but I think it would be just the thing if I ever wanted to start over or go back to school. I know, I know, I shouldn’t need a reminder to make every day a day of service but it sure would be nice sometimes to have everyone around me focusing on that too!

    I love that he is so happy in his space! May the whole year for Jonathan continue as it has begun. It’s so much easier to be happy for them when they are where they are meant to be. And happy.

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    1. If you would have told me 2 years ago – even 1 year ago that this is where he would be I would have looked at you and laughed out loud. The change in this kid is profound and amazing. I feel so confident he is where he is supposed to be right now and you’re right – it’s a gift. On service…I so need reminders of this. That’s what was so interesting about the parent orientation – I felt like I was all ears in hearing what their ethos was.

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  4. I never even realized Brookline had a hill! I’m ashamed to say that after spending our 4 college years in Back Bay, and our first year of marriage living in Jamaica Plain. And when we were in college and Dad’s first year of seminary, Gordon Divinity School was in Brookline. Jonathan’s room in the basement with a curtain brought back memories of Dan’s room when we first moved to Larkana. Do you remember? We walled off the far end of the huge living-dining room with large book shelves and a curtain, and that was Dan’s space- no window! Your room wasn’t much better – your poor kids!
    I love this post, Marilyn, thank you.

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    1. I do remember those rooms in Larkana. But I thought Dan’s was the one at the very end of the house and It hought it was a great room. Mine was blocked off with screens but it worked well. We put ajrak on the screens as I remember. We look forward to taking you to the campus to visit! It’s so lovely and the chapel is stunning.

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  5. This is absolutely beautiful….. Most of the times I’m wanting to show my kids the door… thinking of a door and a view as a blessing frames it up a little differently. You blessed me today. All the best to Jonathon.
    I have one of the same icons as Jonathon…it makes me love his story even more!

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