“Best. Lake. Ever.”

It’s commencement week at our alma mater.  That means that the choir and band members, who perform at various commencement events this weekend, spend the week hanging out on campus and at the school’s retreat house on the lake, goofing off between rehearsals. The lake house is one of my favorite places. I’ve spent group retreats here surrounded in heartfelt chatter and inspirational music, and I’ve spent a five-day  Ignatian retreat wrapped in a cloak of silence here. Both left significant impressions on me. However, the annual music department lake house takeover ( we just call it “the lake”) is one of my most persistent memories of this lovely place. Nerf wars tearing up and down these hallowed halls, lazy afternoons sitting on the dock or splashing around in the lake, late-night card games and indecent versions of Bananagrams… these form a different kind of retreat for me. The acceptance of and enthusiasm for odd interests, odd wardrobe, and odd humor found at “the lake” feels like fresh air and childhood. We speak freely. We sing to ourselves while we walk around. We build friendships first and learn names later. The juvenile activities that spark our interest while we’re here stem not just from nostalgia and refusal to grow up (though those are present), but also from a childlike faith in the human nature of at least these people. It’s a way to detox from all the anxiety about plans, performance, and presentation that pervades college and post-college life.

I wrote the first half of this post late last night in the Lake Room, the heart of the retreat house. Up late again tonight, I’m finishing it from my bedroom at my family home over 100 miles away. Here, not the college town where I laid my head the past fourteen semesters, will be my home again as of June.
I will miss the motley crowd of professors, cafeteria workers, classmates, musicians, and friends that populated my days in that college town. I will miss being six blocks from Mister and eating at least one meal together each day.  I’ll especially miss the retreat house and all it’s come to symbolize for me. Like all the best things in life, it’s deeply important yet impossible to take quite seriously. God bless that lovely lake, the lake house and all its inhabitants through the years, and our dear alma mater.

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About Cherie

I graduated from our alma mater once in 2009 and will be graduating again with a master’s this winter. I’ve worked my way through more majors than I care to explain, but my two biggest academic passions are education and science. I’ll probably post about each on occasion, though I’m hoping to focus on the spiritual side of things. I grew up rooted in the Catholic beliefs and traditions of an old-fashioned, over-sized Italian family, and came into my own understanding of God through charismatic prayer in my teens. I’m not as confidently Catholic lately as I used to be, so this blog will reflect my struggles and (God willing) successes in searching for a deeper, more adult understanding of my lifelong Faith.

Posted on May 25, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Not sure if this is creepy, but I totally just figured out where you went to school and I happened to have just graduated from the other Catholic school about a mile down the road 🙂 I had the chance to go to your lake retreat house and it is indeed beautiful!

  2. Cherie,
    I too am missing the lake house. It was so difficult for me not to be back this year, but I’m hoping to be able to make the trip next year. It’s always difficult to leave something behind and it’s important that instead of leaving it, we take it with us. We should live our day-to-day lives with the lake memories being a part of us because there are some amazing things that have come from it…from the juvenile fun of band/choir times to the extreme seriousness of silent retreat…from hot summers jumping in the lake, to snowy winters of people walking on the frozen lake…there are parts of it that will remain a part of who we are forever. This also applies to band/choir in general and, of course, our alma mater 🙂
    – z

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