Over four decades ago, several high school graduates headed to a small Christian college in western New York: Houghton College. While the college did not offer fraternities and sororities, freshmen participated in an initiation as a class, tormented by sophomores, protected by juniors assigned as our big brothers and big sisters, and later adjudicated by the seniors who held honor court.
Vietnam continued, we graduated, some sooner, some later. Many married and began careers and families. But the bond among Christians run deep. Our college years dealt more with Bible studies and grappling with life’s biggest questions: who we are, why we’re here, and where we’re headed after this life.
Along with meaningful discussions, we did have some ‘fun” with some practice fire drills, and even one pantie raid occurred, but we had no frat or sorority parties and hazing. Still, we did sneak out of the dorm a few nights after our ten pm curfew, and do some silly things, but we had a commitment to Jesus Christ as the summum bonum of life.
So when a few women suggested that we might gather in Virginia in 2001, some of us decided to reconnect. Fourteen of us now try to arrange schedules so we can meet in June. In 2006, 13 of us spent our time in Lancaster and took in Abraham and Sarah at Sight and Sound.
For the last two years, the DIVAS (Divinely Inspired Vivaciously Affectionate Sisterhood) have gathered at Lake Anna, Virginia to spend Thursday through Sunday noon together. Gathered from California, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Virginia, North and South Carolina,New York and Maryland, we laugh, remember college experiences, and share what God has helped us get through most recently. We sing, pray and play!
Relaxation in the warm waters as well as kayak rides occupy afternoons.
During meals we may share books we’ve read or offer suggestions of books to give our grandchildren. Blessed by this large home, we can all gather for breakfast and lunch around one large table. As the last 13 years have passed, the sharing has deepened; we no longer have to catch up with all the details of the years. The depth now of each woman’s conversations reveal her current situations in life and how God continues to lead and sustain. Vulnerability and openness mark the sharing times we have in the large living room.
Last year, thanks to Letha’s creation of a memory book that included photos of our homes, spouses, children and grandchildren, as well as extended family members, we have morphed into a prayer network.
We represent a cross-section of problems all people face: aging bodies, family illnesses and disappointments, concerns for our grandchildren, as well as our aging parents. We’ve faced the death of spouses, cancer, financial reversals. Quite simply, Christians are not spared the difficulties of this broken world. We find our strength to face the trials with the Words of The Word, Jesus Christ, the risen Savior we women love and serve. But lest you think we have long faces and stoic attitudes, wait until you read about the Downton Abbey episode that marked 2013…