1,364 pearls. Of Wisdom. Stemming from 1,364 days spent in this place that quickly became my home : Assumption College. We never dwell in the beginning on how we will change from point A to point B as we turn write the first capital letter to a new chapter in our lives. But this mini series will be a declaration of the lessons I have learned throughout my four years as a college student, away from the textbooks and power point presentations. A dedication to stunning individuals. A memoir to becoming unique. A love story with a place, people and precious pearls of wisdom. A love tale that took 1,364 days to write but would take a thousand more lifetimes to ever forget the moral of the story. When the number 7 was broken on your cell phone and you needed to call Cingular but their help line conveniently contains about five number 7s in it. So you asked to borrow his phone.

During an interview. When you clearly were not supposed to speak about the candidates' progress but you had to tell her how good she had done while washing your hands next to her in the bathroom.

A completely random coincidence. He had purchased this giant cupcake that you could not keep your eyes off of so you gathered up the courage and asked if you could have some. Bold, yes. But that cupcake was delicious.

It's crazy how life unravels like a story book. A person enters into your life and the first encounter you never expect that a hundred pages in the future might include their name. It could be the tiniest gesture. A smile. A hug. An email. Some Random Fishing Line Of Communication. Thrown Out Into The World. And A Connection Bites Back.

In a world that is supposedly so "connected" it is crazy how disconnected we really can be. I could sit and look at my 1,500 or so Facebook friends and revel in my popularity. But why would I do that? At the end of the day, a handful of them are actually going to stand up for me when it counts. We feel like we need to forge these connections with so many individuals. We need to put ourselves out there in the world so that everyone can love us. Right?

I have not blogged in a few days. And honestly, I was not really thinking about it because I was focusing on the connections that I have with individuals who mean the world to me, ones that have been there for me, ones that in eight weeks or so will sit alongside me at graduation. Will cheer from the audience. Will wave goodbye to me as I open up a window to a new life.

I came into college thinking that I had to be so "connected" to everyone. To know everyone, to have them know me. But truth be told, what have I learned from this crazy desire? That if you spread yourself thin, if you give everyone a big chunk of your heart, you will find yourself wondering who to go to when you have given the whole thing away...

It is good that I can wave and smile at a number of people within the course of a day. It is a great blessing. But the people who know me, who really know me, well, those people are few and far between. And I would like to keep it that way.

To be connected, really and truly connected on a level where words no longer suffice, is to be vulnerable. It's putting yourself out there. It is giving up a part of yourself, knowing that you will never get it back. Knowing That You Never Want It Back. And can we do that with everyone? Can we give all of our Twitter followers the key to our heart? And if we do, how soon after will we need to call up someone to change the locks?

The people who "get" us, the ones who understand us, they have a special gift that we would not want the whole world to have. Not only do they understand us, they help us understand our place the world. They push us from "start" to a place we never anticipated as "finish." They hold our dreams when we feel too weak in faith to cradle them ourselves. They make the word "connection" too good for a dictionary. Too sweet for a thesaurus. Too vivacious for a translation.

But we first must be willing. As I said before. We give a part of us away. And as we learned in the second grade: No Take Backs.

But when we meet people who are worth it, oh well, we all know it, I am sure of it. And often we never see it coming. It makes life exciting to think that one day you could see a total stranger and the next day you could be thanking them for changing your life. It adds a certain element to this crazy and chaotic swirl of events. Where everything can be tumbling or falling or breaking and broken.  Where things can be up but then down and somehow sideways. Where you can know everything  one day and nothing the next. Yes, it adds a certain element. And I daresay it's worth it.

Leanna is one of the people who knows me. Not only does she know my heart, more importantly, she knows how my heart beats. This past summer, when she needed to hear it, I sent her a quote from Eat, Pray, Love. She returned the favor a week and a half ago when I needed the advice the most.

"Dont you see what happened? This guy touched a place in your heart deeper that you thought you were capable of reaching, I mean you got zapped, kiddo. But that love you felt, thats just the beginning. You just got a taste of love. That's just limited little rinky-dink mortal love. Wait till you see how much more deeply you can love than that. Heck--you have the capacity to someday love the whole world. It's your destiny. Don't laugh." --Richard from Texas, Eat, Pray, Love.

I carried Richard's advice, given to me by Leanna, with me all day. The next day, Richard Vogt passed away suddenly from a heart attack. I don't know the way in which life works. But I do know the words that he left me with and that they must have come to me again when God wanted them to. And I pray he rests in peace.

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