Monday, May 5, 2008

'...the Pride of Her Friends.'

In the self-created chaos of the past few months, there have been few moments that I've stopped to simply enjoy. I had missed that feeling -- those rare snippets in time when you don't care what's coming next and you've already forgotten what was bothering you 10 minutes ago.

As I entered the old, familiar lobby of that white colonial building on the west side of the Penn State campus on Friday, it was apparent that I was in for a weekend of happiness in its purest form. It's as if my group of closest friends have this magical power to calm, heal, and rejuvenate each other, without ever necessarily knowing their effect.

We descended on campus for a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Lion's Paw -- the organization I count myself eternally lucky to be part of, but never really sure how or why it happened, even 11 years after the fact. What I do know is that it has afforded me a group of people who quite simply are my family. Some of us grew up together, others watched us grow up, and now we find ourselves old enough to see an entirely new generation embarking on the paths we helped to pave. And for 100 years, the tradition continues.
Everybody (hopefully) has those people in their lives. The kind who can melt distance and time in an instant, because no matter what else is happening or has happened since you last talked, you come from the same roots. There is always respect and appreciation for where you're coming from and a common bond that has only gotten stronger as the years go on.

We were brought up on an old-fashioned diet of work hard, play hard. Together, we were taught to have the courage to take initiative when we see a not wait to be asked, to not expect payoff for doing so. We found that honest discussion among the most diverse of us led to the ability to reason together, and in turn brought out the best in all of us.

Those aren't bad values to leave college with and perhaps we didn't even realize that they were being ingrained at the time. But I don't buy the part about never receiving payoff. I left Penn State with so much more than a degree. I left with a treasure trove of friends who I am beyond grateful for every day of my life, who established my self confidence so long ago, and continue to feed my dreams today. They listen to my plans and goals and they ask how they can help make them reality. And beyond all of this, these are the people who draw out my laughter, who know better than anybody how to have a good time. Again, I ask how I got so lucky?

Here's to 100 more years, my friends...M.I.E.R.


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