Post-chapter lulls were just beginning when the lights flicked off suddenly. I could hear the excited, expectant murmurs of 200 girls around me, but really had no idea what was going on. There was singing and candles and giggles. This is the most “sorority” this place has ever felt, I thought to myself. Then things started to click. The candle being passed around had a ring attached to it, and a senior who had recently gotten engaged stood up and told us all about her husband-to-be. I sat in awe of the whole thing. Her name was Megan.
Three years before me, Megan had sat right where I was sitting. Eighteen years old thrown into a sea of change looking for something to hold onto that could bear the weight of this tumultuous season. I felt the pull on my heart to ask her how she figured it all out, so in a completely ordained and completely out-of-my-comfort-zone-moment of boldness, I asked her to get lunch. What started as a “help me I’m drowning in confusion about life and college and friends” conversation at Texas French Bread turned into the most life-giving friendship I have ever known. This older Chi Omega had nothing to gain by offering her time and sharing her life with me, but she spent countless hours pouring out the wisdom and truth she’d come to know during a stage of life that was scary and new. That is what this place is about; that is what these people can offer.
Most of the girls in this house right now will never know my friend Megan. There are composite boards lining the walls of this place full of faces that hold so much mystery. We stare at these pictures and wonder how anyone could have walked these halls before us. It is crazy to imagine that the depth of love I have for this house existed in others long before I was even born. I find myself longing to know the people that called this place home years and years ago, but how many times do we consider the girls that will come after? Acts 17:26-27 says that God marked out the appointed times of the dwelling places of all mankind so that we would seek him and reach out for him and find him because he isn’t far from any of us (paraphrase). This truth is good news and carries so much weight for me. It means that I am not a resident of 2711 Rio Grande Street by accident. Megan was not a Chi Omega by accident. No one that will indwell this house for years and years to come will do so by accident. I’ve learned the hard way that these years fly by, so I am bound and determined to make these days count.
I am eternally grateful for the legacy-leaving nature of the girls that surround me here every day. These people long to impact the world, but also to touch the lives of the people they rub shoulders with during crowded chapter dinners. This place lends every opportunity to become deeply intertwined in the lives of people that you would never be lucky enough to know if it hadn’t been for this house. This means walking through laughter, holding each other through tears, celebrating milestones reached, and carrying each other through finish lines when our own strength isn’t enough anymore. And why do we go to such lengths for people that were strangers just two years before? Because we are here for a reason and the idea of wasting this precious, fleeting time is too much to bear.
It can all seem so silly and cliché, but it’s bigger than the pictures, and it’s bigger than the letters. These years are meant to be refining so that we can each be made into even better versions of ourselves, and in Chi Omega I have found 250 girls that want to do that for one another. Before the process begins, it seems like the legacy title we receive from our moms or grandmas is of the utmost importance, but maybe it is the legacy we will leave behind by the depth of our friendships that will really make the difference.