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    Entries in Baylor University (6)


    S.P. Brooks, Baylor University, Friendship, and Tradition

    This past weekend I travelled down through the DFW metroplex and then on to Waco, Texas to return to my alma mater, Baylor University, for the 100th celebration of Homecoming.  During my days as a student I was a member of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, a student service organization established in 1919, that coordinates and executes the weekend's events.  Homecoming has a special place in my life.  Since graduating in 2002 I have returned each year, heeding former Baylor President Samuel Palmer Brooks' call to "renew former associations and friendships, and catch the Baylor spirit once again."

    Baylor is a place I go each year to recharge my batteries.  Thanks to the fact that my friends and I helped pull off Homecoming during our time at Baylor, a large number of people I know well return to the University each year.  I have four or five friends who consistently have made the trip to Homecoming.  This year I saw more people with whom I worked and studied than ever before, and had meaningful conversations with a number of people about current work or academic pursuits, family, new children, ministry, church involvement and the spiritual life, hopes and dreams, and miscellaneous tidbits about mutual friends and associations who were not present.  I took time to walk the campus, catch up with two old mentors and professors, watched a horrible football game (now an annual tradition), and visited my favorite coffee shop of all time, Common Grounds.  I read, journaled, reflected, and processed what was going on in my life, and what has transpired in the last year.  I had space to be open with close friends, talking about my struggles and fears, and received counsel, encouragement, and support, and, in a way, experienced healing take place.  I answered many questions about my new young daughter, Joy, and about my wife, Molly, who were both missed.  I also received a number of invitations to return home to Texas.

    To recap my weekend, I arrived in Dallas on Thursday, stayed with two wonderful people, Melissa and Ryan Fitzhugh, at their home in Grapevine, Texas.  They took me to dinner at a hole in the wall Italian joint, which was delightful.  We returned home, watched The Office (something I don't normally do), and then caught the end of the Angels victory over the Yankees.  Friday morning my friend Jeff Parker joined us and we drove down to Waco, meeting up with four other friends for a round of golf, which was a blast.  After golf we met with Robert Reid, then I went to dinner with another old mentor, Dr. John Wood.  On Friday evening following the Bonfire I stayed with another friend, Clint Patterson.  After time at Common Grounds first thing in the morning, on Saturday I attended the parade, was connected with a free ticket to the football game by Henry Nguyen, and then travelled back to Dallas with Ryan.  From his home, I drove to Allen, Texas to spend the evening with Jeff and Stacey Parker and their two children, Bennett and Dayton.  Sunday morning we went to church at ONE, which is a predominantly African-American congregation, and was blessed by my time there.  We watched a little football back at the Parker home, and then it was off to DFW to catch my flight home to rainy Kansas City.

    Friday Night Bonfire, Complete with Fireworks

    Perhaps the highlight of my weekend came when visiting with Robert L. Reid, a retired professor of history who served for many years at Baylor.  He offered us (six former Chambermen and two of their wives) his best, cookies, drinks, and a comfortable place to sit.  He told us stories of life as a professor at Baylor, and told us about the virtues and vices of past Baylor Presidents.  He also asked us about our families and our work, offering words of encouragement and noting how proud he was of each one of us.  Mr. Reid is 86 years old, and now uses a wheelchair to get around.  But his mind is still sharp, his words still carry enormous weight, his humor is delightful, and his storytelling gripping.  At the conclusion of our time with him, he asked me to pray for us, which was a great honor, but also unexpected.  I did so gladly, thanking the Lord for Mr. Reid, for friendship, and for the great blessing of our time together.  After our time of prayer, I couldn't think of a better way to end our meeting.

    Common Grounds, Waco

    I am hopeful that next year I'll be able to return once again to Baylor.  I look forward to my time with friends, time at play, and time at rest.  I am glad each year to spend time with others who share a common history and common values.  I am also glad to spend time with others who, thanks to Baylor, have not only been prepared well for their career, but have also been formed morally into exemplary people by their University.  What a blessing.

    I'm planning to be back next year, Lord willing.  Catching the Baylor spirit is good for my soul.

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