Between the busy roads of Houston and the serene countryside of Round Top, Texas, the class of 2020 became one. Despite the adjustments of freshman year, the driving tests of sophomore year, and the rigorous coursework of junior year we finally did it. We became seniors. Ready to take on elevator privileges, off-campus lunch, and, of course, Senior Retreat.
Our senior Bible teacher, Ms. Simonton, spoke very honestly with us in preparation for Senior Retreat. She told us about our boxes. We all have a box. The sizes may vary, what we put in it may be different, but we all have a box we carry with us everywhere we go. And especially in Bible class, we place our boxes close to our hearts on the desk. All of our flaws, all of our pasts and all of our beliefs are laid out in front of us. And then we listen and try to figure out how Jesus fits into each individual box.
We all came to Senior Retreat with our boxes in hand. We were excited for kickball, excited for hammocking, but mostly, excited for God. My first impression of the retreat center was a feeling of peace. It felt like a time capsule from the early 1900s, a place where people talked at the dinner table instead of checking Instagram. And to my surprise, the Class of 2020 followed in suit. No one was on their phones; no one was distracted. We were all fully present.
After sharing a barbecue meal and watching the vibrant sunset, Ms. Simonton took us out to the field in front of the main house. Then, all in a circle, she told us to look up. The sky was adorned with stars, an intricate display of dancing light shone before my eyes. With no city lights or street noise, I could be still, listen and watch in awe as God played with creation. Ms. Simonton began to describe to us the beginning of time, and she explained God’s detailed and specific nature. He does nothing by accident and designs everything with perfect intentionality.
Surrounded by my classmates, it hit me: Despite our differences, despite our various boxes, God is so much bigger. He cannot fit into a box, and He is not defined by our own flawed human understanding. He is the Creator of the universe, and He is just as invested in each of my peers as He is in me. In that moment, God truly gave us 2020 vision.
As I watched the sunrise from the balcony of the main house that next morning, I felt the sun come up on a new year, a new beginning. This year we have an opportunity to lead, to be an example and to truly prepare ourselves for the real world.
So whether we are swinging in the loving embrace of hammock or struggling through an AP Lit test, we can breathe, fix our eyes on Jesus and trust Him to lead us into a bright future with clearer vision.
to view photos from this year’s Senior Retreat.