Say welcome to Carolyn Noble, my BFF and FFB (forever favorite bride) of 21ish years. Carolyn and I met in college. I was smitten with her from early on, but I had no idea she’d not only be my bride but also my hero. We’ve been through a lot together. I feel sometimes like we’ve lived three lifetimes together with all the challenges and experiences we’ve had. (You can read Our Story here.)
After reading Amy’s entry about Dear Freshman Amy, I couldn’t really focus on what I wanted to say. Her words were powerful and sincere. I want to print off her letter to herself and save it for my kids. It was priceless.
I thought long and hard to find things that college did not teach me and I really could not find one thing. What I did find was that there were many things I learned in college that were not found in a textbook. I would like to share those.
- Laundry stinks! I hate laundry. It is a weekly struggle for me. I always tease that I want a laundry maid but we are in the wrong profession for that. I got to thinking that is something I surely did not learn in college. No one taught me that I would have to deal with laundry the rest of my life and deal with the severity of how much I hate it. Then it was like deja vu. I think the same white laundry basket I have now was the one I had in college. The clothes are still piled high and unfolded. They are clean though. Just like in college. Some things never change.
- Nothing beats a home-cooked meal. I remember my days at Ouachita Baptist University where hours were spent at “Walt’s” cafeteria. It really wasn’t named that but that is what we called it. There was a big, jovial man that ran the cafeteria for years. The food was not the best but it was where much socializing happened. It was the hang out. I can not remember what we actually ate there but I do remember the homemade meals I had at professors’ homes with their families. There was nothing like it. There really wasn’t anything better than a home-cooked meal. That is still true to me today. I love to go out to eat, don’t get me wrong. What I really love is fellowshipping around a table with food that only comes from a loved-one’s kitchen.
- Church is important for all ages. I hear statistics of how young people drop out of church at college age. I didn’t and I am so grateful. I plugged right in to a church there in Arkadelphia. It was actually where I met Jeff and helped him with his youth group. It wasn’t exactly like my home church that was many miles away, but it was still the body of Christ that I longed to be a part of. No one sat down with me and told me to go to church. It was a longing. I am so thankful that I went while I was in college. I learned so much.
- Cancer is a text book. That is one text book I got at college I sure did not want to read. I can say now that the lessons I learned from it then have totally impacted my view of life now. It still amazes me how God worked while I was sick at college. My friends, family, doctors and professors rallied around me like a hurricane. I learned the importance of community and how God can work out the smallest of details. I am telling you it was by the grace of God alone I was able to deal with the treatments of cancer, stay at college many miles from home, graduate from college and get married all in one year. Mostly, it drove me to be totally dependent on Him. For that I am grateful.
- Never say never. No, not Justin Bieber, he wasn’t around then. College taught me to never say those words again. Period. I said I would never marry a preacher man like my high school friends predicted for me. I said I would never date Jeff Noble during my freshman year when he was galavanting around campus with a different date each night. Now look where I am now. What happened? Never say never. OK? It’s not worth the torment. Seriously though, I am so thankful for Jeff Noble. I promise he was NOT in the ministry when we were dating. I can still remember the night he told me he felt called to full time ministry. I think it was at night so he didn’t see my face. All I could think about after he said those words were all the words I was about to eat. Now, 20 years later, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I am beyond blessed. I am glad God is in control and that we don’t always get our own ways and plans.
God does know the plans for us. He is in control. I would do it all over again, the same way, even though there were some rough spots. What I learned in college was not only found in the many text books. It was the people and experiences God set out for me. I wouldn’t trade that education for anything.