Meaning of home

A Davis & Elkins College faculty member recently gave a class assignment for a paper focusing on the concept of “home” and its meaning to the student. This assignment has me thinking about “home” and its meaning to me, and its significance to Davis & Elkins College.

“Home” has only positive connotations for me. Raised in a loving environment, I was nurtured, challenged and provided ample opportunity to find a meaningful path for my life that will leave the world a bit better than I found it. Home was not a house nor a geographic town, rather it was a feeling … an experience.

Some of our first-year students find themselves “homesick” as they adjust to new surroundings and a new reality on campus. I don’t think they are missing the house from where they came, rather they are missing the familiar surroundings, rootedness of their life, and the love and nurture of family and old friends. We continue to assure them that in a brief time, they will not only begin to adjust to campus life, but there will be a return of the familiar feelings of “home” that are not restricted by time and space.

This coming weekend is “Homecoming” at D&E. I love the concept, and I cherish the experience. Alumni who return to this sacred space come back to recapture some of the magic that occurred in their lives while students. I know they enjoy seeing the old buildings and familiar spaces … walking back in Graceland or Halliehurst and reliving events of days gone by. They hike back to Inspiration Point or walk through one of our residence halls where they experienced communal living and were surprised to find they loved it.

However, more important than any building or outdoor spot on campus, they come back to reconnect with people and allow the flood of memories to return from a transformative period in their lives. They seek out former professors, coaches or staff members who invested themselves into the lives of students. As many alumni mature in years and wisdom, they realize now what they might not have fully understood at the age of 18 or 20. The faculty and staff of Davis & Elkins College invested their very selves into these young people, literally molding lives and enabling dreams to become reality.

Alumni also return to reconnect with former classmates, some of whom have become lifelong friends. All who gather on campus for this joyous weekend come to celebrate Davis & Elkins College, which is the tie that binds us all together.

A wonderful assignment from a D&E professor has stimulated our present students to begin contemplating the big questions of life, including what it is that brings meaning, stability and purpose to life; for at its heart, that is what “home” can accomplish. How wonderful that we are about to experience a “home coming” where the old and familiar meets the present and possible to create more memories, more relationships and more meaning for the life journeys each of us are blessed to live out.

The journey continues….