Just a Building . . . or Was It
I was fortunate to spend my life adjacent to a University campus, there I sat and, there I served. Some said I was just a building – bricks and wood, paint and tiles, carpet and paneling, but I knew I was more. Many a Freshman entered my doors with anxious expressions, and many a Senior walked out with high expectations. They came and they went, generations of them, and then they brought their children back to see me. I hosted their gatherings – worship, Bible Study, and fellowship. They called me a Center, but I was also a safe-haven, a refuge, a still spot in the midst of an academic storm, a place to hide, to rest, to reflect. Some met life-long friends inside my walls, and others met the love-of-their-life. I’ve heard much laughter, watched a few tears, reflected on a few deep theological thoughts, shared lots of love. I’ve been privileged to observe spiritual growth, sometimes is the midst of pain. I’ve seen students struggle with truth and watched them win the fight. Sadly, I remember a few who lost, who gave in to false hope, who surrendered to ungodly pursuits. It’s been a good life, but now they’ve locked my doors for the last time. The demolition crew is on the way. Soon I will feel the wrecking ball. Oh, my stained- glass window will be saved for my successor, and some of my bricks will find their way to the homes and offices of my students, to serve as a reminder of our time together. But my time is over. You might say, I’ve graduated. Then again, you might say, “I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). But don’t say, I was just a building.
(Written on the occasion of the demolition of the Baptist Student Center at the University of Texas where this writer served for six years as Director. A new, larger facility will be constructed on the same site.)