Saturday, October 14, 2006
Indiana Wesleyan University isn't exactly how I remember it, but that's a good thing.
Aaron and I drove into campus and parked in front of just one of the many new dorms that have been built over the last 10 years. Bowman Hall, where I first stayed as a freshman,looks like an outhouse compared to the new dorms and other buildings!
The first people we recognized were actually our former pastors from Kalamazoo, Danny and Tanna. That was a wonderful surprise and we loved catching up with them. Two girls from the womens' quartet I sang with were there, too, and I was thankful to see them again. I really wish one of these years we could get a good majority of chorale/ministry team former members to head down to IWU -- it's so fun to see everyone!
Aaron and I really loved the new library and all the incredible features of the student center. Our favorite, though, would have to be the chapel built through the vision of Dr. Wilbur and Ardelia Williams. We loved how in the midst of all this "newness" there lies at the heart of the campus this simple, but majestic structure that appears to have been there for years.
When we opened the heavy wooden doors, the sanctuary was empty and with only a handful of small pews and then a large sculpture on the platform at the front. It was a rendering of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. His entire body is literally thrown across a massive rock where he is praying in anguish. From the back of the sanctuary, you can only see his hair falling over his face, but when you approach the front, you can walk to the side and gaze on his pleading, pained face.
One part of me desperately wanted to take a photograph, but the other side of me simply could not take a picture in this holy, sacred place. I can't remember the last time I was so moved by an artist's work. It was truly anointed.
I also loved how very simple the chapel was. It's sparse in a way that frees you, makes you feel transparent and at peace. Nothing is placed there by accident. I wanted to go get my journal, my bible, and stay for a few hours.
We actually got to talk with Professor Williams and Ardelia later that day, and I had to work hard not to cry when I told them how much I loved the chapel. Ardelia smiled and said, "It really accomplishes what we hoped it would; it's a very sacred place." I'm so thankful for their lives and how they have completely poured out everything they've been given from God.
More photographs from that beautiful Saturday at IWU...
Carmin Hall where Aaron and I met (thank you, Kevin Smith, wherever you are...)
The Jackson Library
at 7:46 PM