Feelings are part of our senses, too, so I’ll try to compress all the emotions that washed over me during this past football weekend at Notre Dame.
- Awe. Notre Dame, first and foremost, is a Catholic institution of higher learning. While they are immensely proud of that, they do more than just tolerate other faiths — they embrace them. Yes, there are chapels in every dorm; yes, there are crucifixes in classrooms; and yes, there’s a 19-foot tall golden statue of Mary atop the Main Building. But nobody is forced to become Catholic; indeed, there’s a plethora of religious organizations on campus for a wide variety of faiths. That they all co-exist so serenely is inspiring (maybe the entire world should take note!).
- Peace. Notre Dame’s campus is chock-full of places where one can contemplate. The sheer number of unusual-looking trees overshadowing wooden benches makes for a hallowed feeling. The 14-story Hesburgh Library offers plenty of places to read and stretch one’s mind. And the Grotto with its kneeling rail and vigil candles provides a spot where even the most troubled spirit can find calm.
- Jealousy. I might sound like an old geezer here, but I’ve got to admit to a teeny bit of jealousy — at these kids’ youth, their brightness, their exuberance, the possibility that some of them will cure diseases or save lives or make the world a better place — and they’ve got time on their hands to do so.
- Anticipation. You know that heart-racing excitement you get when something wonderful is about to happen, and it can’t happen fast enough for you? That’s it! This was my first time to hear what a 400-plus member Band sounds like, to be part of 81,000 screaming fans packed shoulder to shoulder in an open-air football stadium, to re-visit some of the spots on campus I’d only glanced at on earlier (and busier!) trips, to see (in person, no TV commercial breaks!) a college football game again.
- Self-satisfaction. Hey, I faced my fears, stepped out of my comfort zone, whatever you want to call it — and was rewarded with the adventure (and memory) of a lifetime! It doesn’t get much better than that!
- Pride. Watching My Favorite Domer in his habitat, smiling at the ease with which he greets fellow students, realizing how seriously he takes his obligation of being in the Band and his studies, knowing this great university is the right place for him — well, I can’t help feeling proud. What a difference a few years make — as his mom, I still remember the brave little boy walking into preschool without looking back!
I’ll wrap up my journey down Memory Lane tomorrow — though this won’t be the last of my blogging. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my adventure!