I went to college at one of the most beautiful places on Earth. My senior year of high school we visited a school in Chicago and were snowed in - in April - then went straight to Westmont, and I knew it was home as soon as I saw it. It was intellectual without being stuffy, protective without being stifling, freeing without being scary, and religous without being dogmatic. I value the four years I spent there every day.
The school is nestled into the hills above Santa Barbara in a little village called Montecito. It's full of old Hollywood history, and I one day rode my little red scooter to see where the marriage of Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable took place. The bouganvilla are always in bloom, and in the summers, mist hangd over the beaches. It had cute boys, caring profs, and faithful friends.
Later, when I'd feel overwhelmed with life - with a new baby, or job losses, or just too much laundry, I'd always dream of Santa Barbara. There would be a lingering thought in the back of my dreaming mind that I should be worried about something, but then I'd think, "I'm at Westmont, what could possibly be wrong."
But today, something is very wrong at Westmont. And while I'm not a demonstrative person, I've been fighting back tears all day. My freshman dorm has burned, just missing the suite I stayed in, but taking down our "brother suite." I know many other buildings have burned and I pray that the dorm I spent three years in and the wonderfully charming Reynold's Hall where I took all of my literature classes is in tact. Sadly, I know we lost about a dozen faculty houses. In a place as expenisve as Montecity, faculty housing is incredibly important.
Thankfully, no students or employees were hurt, though I think they spent some scary time in the gym on cots.
If you have a moment to pray for those involved, I'd really appreciate it.
Here are some places you can track the story for those interested:
Spotlight: Pipeliner by Shawn Hartje
31 minutes ago