Ups and Downs of Life in a College Town

This time of year is filled with anticipation for those of us who live in college towns. Within the next few weeks, students will be returning, and the semester will be in full swing. It will be harder to find parking places, but there will be more energy around town. There will be more students, more events, more discussions. It really is exciting stuff. Because of the nature of Matt’s work, I expect we’ll always live in a college town, and for the most part, I am grateful for that. I love being around college students. I love the events and the opportunities for exploration of ideas and lively discussion created by the university atmosphere.

However, there is one aspect of college town life that I think I could do without – the transience. People come, they stay for a while, and then they move on. There is something beautiful in that – I now have friends spread all around the country. Matt and I support missionaries around the United States and the world, all of whom we have lived life with at one time or another. But the transience also wears on me. I’ve stopped counting how many good friendships or relationships with potential depth have been transformed irrevocably by moves – or by transitions in people’s pursuits even while staying within our town. There is now no one left at our church – other than Matt and me – who was a part of my first community group when I moved to the area. This summer has been particularly harsh in its toll on my local relationships, and as a relational introvert, I haven’t particularly enjoyed that.

And I’m left wondering, God, what do you have for me in all of this? I believe that when Paul writes in Romans 8:28 that God “works all things for the good of those who love Him” that he means all things. I believe that this is an opportunity for good – perhaps not one I would have chosen, but an opportunity nonetheless. But for what? Greater depth in my relationship with Matt? Greater focus on my relationships with my girls, particularly as we start home-school pre-school this fall and seek to have more structure in our days? Pursuing relationships with other women and other couples? More time alone and time to pursue God Himself? Time to work some more hours and earn some extra money to work toward our financial goals? I really don’t know, and I’m praying God will guide me through it all.

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