A boy walks through a field at springtime, looking all around at the growth and change that is happening. Movement in the corner of his eye causes him to swing his head to the side. Swinging from side to side, a butterfly is trying to push its way out of a cocoon. He moves towards it and sits to watch. The small butterfly continues to fight, but it is making no progress. The boy’s pity for the beautiful creature grows as it struggles on and on. I could help it, he thinks, I can cut open the cocoon.
Pulling out a pocket knife, he slices through the cocoon slowly as he pulls the butterfly from its bondage. He holds in his hand, careful not to make any sudden movements. It spreads it wings to fly, but it slumps on to its side. Rising, it falls again and again and again. The boy looks closer and sees that the wings are too small. It is not strong enough to fly yet.
We are made to live in relationship. When God saw that none of the animals bonded with Adam in a deeper way, He made Eve so Adam would not be alone. That’s the way men and women are meant to live. Together.
There is a longing in each of us for that sense of deeper connection. Someone who completes us. Everyone is looking for their complement, including Olivet students. We think that when we find this person, that yearning inside will be wiped away.
That yearning can hit a peak during freshman year of college when students first arrive on their campuses. The rush of starting a new chapter of life plus meeting so many other equally excited freshmen tends to lead people towards the thought that this is the right time to start looking for that “other half.”
Yet here is the thing about college: it changes you. I have only been going to Olivet for a little over a year and I already know that I am not the same person I was when I first moved into Chapman Hall. During my time here, God has opened my eyes to weaknesses I never saw in myself before. He revealed to me how much I love writing, how much I want to coach basketball someday, even how much I can listen to someone when they are in pain.
It also showed me things I did not want to see. I can be too headstrong when I am faced with confrontation. I can speak too freely instead of thinking my words through. I can be too concerned with how others will perceive me instead of doing the right thing.
This year will expose you, freshmen. If you have not faced some form of adversity that reveals something about you, trust me, it is coming. That is the misunderstood blessing of freshman year. You are going to see yourself in a different light. How you choose to face that challenge is up to you.
But know this: that “other half” of yours, they are dealing with something too. They have been hit with the same shockwave of change that you have been hit with. They have to deal with it in their own way. I understand you want to be there for them and help them through their trials, but do not see that as a chance to jump in and become their savior.
Like the butterfly, we all need time to become strong enough to fly. Throughout college, we will grow and mature in ways that will stretch us to our breaking points and then take us further than that. We must turn to God to find who we are. And that maturity will take time. For some, longer than others.
You also have your own maturing to do. Remember Jesus’ teaching about trying to help your brother remove a speck from his eye when you have a log in your own eye? Look for ways to mature yourself. And take your time. Rush the process, and you will not get the masterpiece that you are meant to be.
— Sam Nichols, Staff Writer