Fall , my favorite season of the year, is upon us and with fall comes another festivity which I look forward to year after year regardless of where I am:
I have many fond memories of this event, regardless of where it’s been. As a little girl, my family would go to the Concordia Homecoming Parade in Moorhead, Minnesota so my mom could reconnect with college friends and so the rest of us could repeatedly sprint onto 8th street in order to steal as much candy as our little hands could grab. The rest of the day would entail us kids binge eating all of our treasured candy while the grown-ups cheered on the Cobber Football team in the stands of Jake Christiansen Stadium.
Shifting forward a few years down the road, in middle and high school I looked forward to the classic dress up days (‘MERICA, Thrift Shop, Dynamic Duo, Wild West, & School Spirit were some of my favorites), as well as “attempting” to play Powderpuff, cheering on the boys in Buff Puff, and roaring with energy and laughter in the annual pep rally. The Saturday afternoon of homecoming weekend would be spent sitting with blankets in the crispy leaves cheering on our friends as they played in the homecoming football game on Oak Grove’s picturesque field by the river. In addition to the game, that Saturday night would entail the ever so popular school dance which everyone would dress up and take pictures for, as well as going out for a “fancy” dinner beforehand (which of course our parents drove us to until the last few years of high school). Yet, some of my favorite memories of homecoming were the performances. There was an annual talent show as well as a homecoming concert which Alumni would come and join the choir on stage at the end for a singing of “Beautiful Savior”.
Oh, the joys of being a Grover.
Now, this fall of 2016, I’m a Cobber – already an “old” upperclassmen junior - and I still become incredibly excited about homecoming. However, I’ve realized the reason why I continually look forward to this event year after year - regardless of what school I’m at - is because of the community that I have the chance to be a part of. It’s the people, relationships, and time spent in intentional conversations that I look forward to. Homecoming is a time when people are intentional about investing in people, both old and new relationships. Undoubtedly there are many wonderful events, but that’s not the primary reason why people return home. People come back to connect with their past friends and acquaintances, to relive cherished memories and to make new ones with those whom they care about.
With this homecoming season upon us, I encourage you to continue to invest in the relationships around you. Teachers, friends, older friends, parents of friends…. Make people feel that they matter. Remind them that they are making a difference and are loved and appreciated by many. I realize this becomes tough when there appears to be multiple aspects of life that seem to constantly demand the very best of us - a countless stream of high expectations set upon us both said and unsaid by the people and experiences that we choose to be a part of. I know that I often feel the expectation to be a good student, a good daughter, an accomplished singer, have time to exercise and eat healthy, make time for God, and and ANDDD... and even sleep when I have a spare moment. The list goes on and on and our days quickly become filled with an endless stream of to do’s. But let me tell you this: I have never regretted making time for a friend. People are always worth it.
During this homecoming, make time for others. Leave the “to-do’s” and choose to be present - intentional about really listening and being with the people surrounding you. Enjoy yourself, the community you have the chance to be a part of, and the time set aside to be with one another.
currently lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she works remotely as a Policy and Communication Manager for the First Lady of North Dakota. Photography and writing are a passion that help her better appreciate the details of the world.