WHO ARE YOU? Now, go back and read the question again. It is a loaded question, and quite frankly, a tad bit scary. The truth is, I have not been around that long, but in my experience, I have found that we fill the quiet space with all kinds of things including social media, friends, and awkward conversation. People tend to avoid questions that make them feel uncomfortable. WHO ARE YOU? I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a teammate. I am a student. However, as I reflect on who I am, I realize that I am a small part of everyone who has poured into me along my 22-year adventure on earth.
I reside in the quaint little town of Winder, Georgia. That is wine-der not win-der. Winder is just a little dot on the map between Atlanta and Athens, but it’s my little dot. Winder gives a 21st century Mayberry aura. You introduce yourself with your last name and who your grandparents are, and a man’s word still carries weight in my little town.
I have lived in the same neighborhood my entire life. I am the oldest of three girls, but as the family started growing my parents decided it was time for us to move. The “big” move was right next door. As I said before, I am coming to realize that my story, who I am, is the summation of who I’ve been surrounded by. Both my parents and grandparents played sports growing up, so naturally I had a ball of some sort in my hand from a very young age. As I enjoy the privilege of hindsight, I can see the indispensable value that sports have had in my life. Through sports I’ve learned that nothing is handed to you. You can and will be successful, but it will not be because you didn’t pay your dues. The teammates will not remember the all-star play you had or the game winning at bat, but they will remember how you made them feel. You will only go as far as your attitude will let you.
These lessons, some learned the hard way, carried over to my academic life as well. What I lack in brilliance, I make up for in hard work. My academic capabilities led me to Piedmont College, where my athletic skills followed. Playing college softball was a dream of mine since I was twelve years old, and as I stepped onto campus, I quickly found that college was not all that it was made out to be. The people who spent hours pouring into me were no longer standing by my side and the challenge of the next four years seemed insurmountable. My first semester seemed to torment me as I painfully adjusted to the life that everyone around me seemed to be enjoying. I missed home. I missed mom’s cooking, my dad’s stupid jokes, and my sisters’ annoying comments. All the while, I was praying to find just one friend. As it seemed the faith that was easy to grasp at home was being held to the fire, the Lord led me to my first true friendship at Piedmont College during the end of my first semester. From that point it seems like the rest is history. This one friendship was an answered prayer for authentic, iron sharpening iron, friendship that I had been praying for since high school. It led to other friendships, belonging, and a renewed fervency in my faith.
Fast forward and as I am entering my last semester here at Piedmont College. The last .2 miles of a marathon if you will. There have been peaks and there have been valleys through the last four years of my collegiate journey. I entered college as an early childhood education major with a concentration in special education and I am leaving college with a major in psychology bound for Augusta University’s Occupation Therapy program. I am leaving Piedmont with more than a degree. I am leaving with friends who I will continue to walk through life with and teammates who have played an imperative role in molding me into the person I am today. I am a part of every family member, coach, teacher, professor, friend, and teammate who has poured into me over the years.
So, look around. WHO ARE YOU? Wrestle with the question. Evaluate who you are surrounding yourself with. Thank the people who pour into you, they deserve it, I know the people in my life do. Then pay it forward because someone in your circle needs to be poured into.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17