Reflections on Community
by Mary K. Smith, class of 2010
I’m headed to Chicago on 65-North in my blue Toyota Corolla, packed to the brim with all my belongings, namely, clothing, shoes, boxes of books, and a summer’s supply of bridesmaid dresses. I’m listening to my “Senior Year Worship Faves” mix, on repeat. And I’m crying.
Time to call Mom.
“In a weird way, it’s kind of encouraging to see you so upset,” Mom told me after I gained composure.
Umm, excuse me? What kind of mom is encouraged by her child’s sadness?
I’ll tell you. The kind of mom whose child just graduated from Taylor, who acknowledges her daughter’s grief as evidence of an enriching college career.
“When I left college, I was so ready to leave. I didn’t think twice about graduating. I left in a hurry and didn’t look back,” Mom explained. "Dad and I are so happy that it was different for you. Not that we are glad to see you sad, but it’s encouraging to know that your time at Taylor was so significant that you are distraught about that time coming to a close."
Mom was right. It’s a grieving process - the end of an era. It has been important for me to identify what exactly made my Taylor career so exceptional, because that has enabled me to better prepare for this transition period.
What is sad about leaving Taylor is leaving people. Leaving relationships. Leaving community. I’ve built friendships with some incredible people, and those relationships have shaped me in ways I could not have anticipated.
So in the day to day, I’ll miss the little things. I’ll miss chapel, where I knew that I would hear from the Lord within the context of corporate worship. I’ll miss spending time with friends in prayer on a daily basis, and as needs arise. I’ll miss being within walking distance from some of the godliest people I have been blessed to know. I’ll miss lengthy conversations, wrestling through tough questions that challenge my thinking intellectually and spiritually. I’ll miss the convenience of living side by side with those who know the Truth, speak the Truth, and pursue the Truth.
At Taylor, I caught a glimpse of the body of Christ at work on a tangible, practical level. I learned what it means to walk through life with my brothers and sisters, through joys and trials. I experienced the power of prayer, and found freedom in accountability. I realized the impact of being surrounded by people who long to know the Lord and be obedient to Him. I discovered how crucial it is to recognize the Holy Spirit’s active presence in my life, claiming His power in full confidence each day.
For me, Taylor fostered an environment that enabled me to live and learn with other Christ-followers in a holistic way. The Lord used those four years to shape me and mold me, chipping away at parts of my life that did not reflect Him well. Yet I rejoice in knowing that the Lord’s work in me is not yet completed.
During the spring of my senior year, the Lord reminded me that my relationship with Him was not intended to be easy or comfortable. He calls me to a sacrificial, transforming relationship with Him. And the great thing is, the Lord truly desires what is best for me. In knowing that, I’m excited to see the way the Lord continues to change me outside the comfort of the Taylor community. My time at Taylor was blessed greatly, but I know the Lord is preparing the way even now for my next steps, and that He will equip me to obey Him in whatever He asks.