Tonight was the first night of stadium clean-up for what will most likely be my last season of it due to student teaching next fall. It was funny to think that in 2007 I showed up in- yes, it was actually the same shirt and hoodie I wore as a freshman.
As per tradition, I didn’t go to the game, but studied instead and had a friend text when the end was near. We gathered around, armed ourselves with trash bags and gloves, sang a spirited version of the fight song, and then joined in prayer. We divided and conquered the stands in record time, and then went out to the parking lot. Our line didn’t last long, but we flowed over the place like a passing wave crashing in toward the shore, taking everything with it.
It was our first clean-up without Mark Arant and a lot of our brothers and sisters now in Iowa City. I thought about how sweet it would be to see clean-up at kinnick, but then found out from an Iowa City native that a local high school is contracted as a fundraiser for their sports teams. And that in itself was just it- I was talking with lots of freshmen who seemed very happy to be there, and many friends I have known since I was a new freshman. I just kept finding more people to encourage and genuinely get to know. I had so much fun! Janelle and I were buddies since we’re old and enjoy wandering around together trying to keep the masses organized in our little corner, but it didn’t stop us from talking to a variety of people.
I talked to many people about the hayride coming up this Sunday, and to some others about how sweet connection groups are. It was really really cool to see one of my DIS students bring about 6 girls to the tailgate/game/cleanup. lol granted, it’s fairly typical freshman boy behavior to take around an entourage of girls, but I was sincerely impressed by the leadership skills that were so evident to me… but I’m not sure he knows yet.
I saw so many people who were happy about coming to the game, but not necessarily in agreement with God, and it was beautiful to see the kinds of relationships that can form through something as simple as picking up trash en masse.
Many of my friends were gone this year, but it reminded me a lot of life and of the nature of God.
“The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever.”
Football turf dies. People graduate. People get married. People leave for Iowa City.
But God’s message does not change. He is more constant than day and night.
How sweet it is that we, mere grass and wayward weeds, can grow and fertilize the soil we live in for generations to come? It may be different people, but He is still the same God, and our purpose remains. I LOVE that about Him.