Saturday, July 10, 2010

Man on the Floor!

Today's blessing has been eavesdropping on the alumni of the Houghton College.  Because I acquired my degree by taking part in the college's adult degree completion program, I did not have the typical Houghton experience.  I didn't live on campus and did not attend traditional classes.  I do believe I have an equivalent degree - our courses were taught by Houghton professors, and while they were kind to us as non-traditional students, they demanded a high level of participation and learning, nonetheless.

So back to eavesdropping.  I have heard, more times than I can count, comments about men being in the dorms.  It started last night when an older man walked by the room, glanced in our open door and struck up a conversation.  After he left, Heather looked at me and said, "I half expected him to announce, 'Man on the floor!' " 

The college has always maintained separate housing for men and women, and although I don't know what the policy was when the class of 1960 was here (they are celebrating their 50th reunion!), when Heather was a student ten years ago, there were strict rules against men being in the women's dorms, except on moving in day and during scheduled "open house" hours.  (When the doors remained open, and I think I heard you had to have at least one foot on the floor at all times or some such restriction as to position with one's male guest.)  As the parent of a freshman woman, I was decidedly pleased that my daughter was not going to a place where men and women were suite mates - some separation is healthy, I believe.

I remember always being amused when our young teenage son Jason would fling open the door and announce in his pre adolescent voice, "Man on the floor!" when going to pick up his sister for breaks.  He was just a little brother!  No co-ed dashing to the shower would want to be seen, even by a little brother, I suppose.

But today, I've heard numerous comments about the propriety of men being in the women's dorm buildings from the other alumni gathered here, even if they are sharing a room with their wives! Old habits die hard, they say, and Houghton grads are enjoying their reunions, recalling life as a student and remarking on differences as returning alumni.

It Is Well With My Soul

Last night I had a little God bumps moment with my daughter and other alumni of Houghton College.  We are attending Alumni Weekend - she graduated in 2000, and I graduated in 2005 through the college's adult degree completion program.  We were at the village church at a hymn sing which was accompanied most grandly on the piano by an alumnus of the college, with selections by a brass group, which was organized by another alumnus - and many members of his family.  (I did wonder what would happen in that family if one were interested in woodwinds - they had multiple trumpets, trombones, and horns!) 

We sang along through numerous hymns - and it was lovely.  Then we got to the phrase "The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend."  Tears welled up in my eyes as I pictured the glorious time when all the saints will be reunited in heaven with our Lord. I reached over to hug Heather's shoulders, and saw that she, too, was wiping tears from her eyes.

Only at alumni weekend at a place like Houghton College could so many graduates be singing hymns and be so happy about it!  It surely wouldn't occur at many other institutions.  What a blessing Houghton was to our daughter, and then to me!

Over the years, hymns and praise songs have often prompted tears.  I remember singing "Here I Am, Lord" at church when Heather was a freshman at Houghton, and it happened to me that Sunday morning.  That was the title of her high school English class autobiography project - I had typed it for her, and each chapter was titled by a different hymn.  She had used it as an example of her best writing for application to the college's inaugural First Year Honors Program, and now she's been reunited with two of the young women with whom she studied in London during the spring of her freshman year. 

During the closing of a Walk to Emmaus weekend where my mother was serving on team, I stood beside my father, singing "Because He Lives," I cried so hard then that he had to give me his hankie to mop up.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.