This one is going to be personal. If I’ve learned one thing in college, it’s that almost everything is temporary. You never know what is going to end abruptly, but you can be prepared for anything.
My college experience has been filled with the word “temporary.” After high school graduation, I went to the University of North Alabama because a temporary boyfriend wanted me to be close to home. The end of freshman year, I lost a friend and learned that even life is temporaryeven though it doesn’t feel like it at 18 years old. A semester later, I decided my time at UNA should be temporary, and thankfully my parents were onboard with transferring. Next came the temporary sorority friends who turned on me as soon as I left. Four semesters in, and I temporarily went to a community college and got an associates degree. Next, I finally transferred to my dream school, where I knew my time was temporary. I temporarily worked an internship I loved and became a senator, with a temporary second term. Finally, I got accepted temporarilyto the Disney College Program, and then they announced the cancellation of the Fall Advantage program. My senior spring has been cut short due to the pandemic, making temporary my word of choice to describe my college experience.
College has been filled with temporary pain as well. From losing a high school friend in a tragic wreck to friendships ending that I thought would last a lifetime. Even bad grades and negative feedback can hurt, but temporarily.
Think of pain as a tattoo. There are temporary and permanent tattoos. The remnants of temporary tattoos may stay on your skin for an extra day if it’s a cheaper one, or up to a few months if it’s more of a henna. Permanent tattoos remain on your skin, but the pain is still temporary.
Now let’s compare the tattoos.
Temporary Tattoos: stubbing your toe, making a bad grade on a test, spilling your morning coffee down your white shirt, a mean comment, or a tough assignment. Each of these can produce some level of pain, but it’s temporary. It typically lasts less than 24 hours, and even the small remnants don’t make it past 48.
Henna Tattoos are next. These would be a rough breakup, a lost friendship, a rejection from your dream school, et cetera. These last for a bit longer and hurt a bit more. These last for a few months, but they become numb in the end.
Permanent Tattoos are last. Those are the lost loved ones and the painful moments that scar you in a way. These make you bleed and the pain seems unbearable in the beginning. You cry, allow yourself to feel the pain, begin the healing process, and eventually are healed with a new marking on your skin. You will always miss loved ones who are no longer walking on this earth with you, but the gut wrenching pain is temporary. The reason why this pain seems permanent is because it stays with you. You don’t get over the loss of a loved one in 24 hours, or even 5 months. The pain becomes bearable and those you have lost become a permanent part of who you are. This is why they’re permanent tattoos; we keep them in our hearts.
Personally, my Papa, PawPaw, and Papa B have been gone from this earth for years, but they’re still in my heart. Papa is there when I ride in a golf cart or drive up “Eddy Hill,” PawPaw is there when I look at my dark skin and eyes, and any time I eat crackers. Papa B is at VBS eating homemade ice cream, and on the boat during any fishing trip. The pain of losing someone is there, but it goes from a 10 to a 1 on the scale posted on the emergency room wall. They’re my permanent tattoos. Always there, but sometimes a little more noticeable. Just like a tattoo, some outfits display it and others completely hide it away. This pain is the same way. Sometimes it is overwhelming and impossible to hide and other times, no one would know anything has ever been wrong.
It’s important to distinguish between the permanent and the temporary.
With that being said, our time on this earth is temporary. Every bit of pain is temporary no matter how it feels in the moment. Our careers are temporary even though we spend years in school in preparation for them, and even longer working in them. Jobs are lost, loved ones pass away, friendships fail, college rejection are received, but all of these things are temporary and minuscule in comparison to what is to come.
We have one choice with a permanent impact, and that is whether or not we follow Jesus.
His love is not temporary, and his plan is prepared for the temporary surrounding us in this life. We can be reunited with loved ones under his care in Heaven. There will come a time when the Father welcomes us home, and all of our past pain will no longer consume us. Even the permanent tattoos will be washed away with our sin. When things of this life seem out of control and cause pain, remember that you are loved. Love is not temporary. Love is eternal and there is no love like the Savior’s love.
Jesus suffered temporary pain to live in Heaven permanently with his children.
The savior endured temporary pain to spend an eternity with his people. Next time you question the temporary pain in your life, turn to Jesus. We tend to forget that he himself experienced far worse pain than we can imagine, but like ours, it was temporary.
Things of this earth are temporary.
Seasons change whether regarding seasons of life or seasons of the year. They are all temporary, but rest assured, one things is not. The things of this earth will pass away, but God and his word will remain. We must cling to Jesus during the uncertainty, the pain, and the temporary seasons of life so that we may one day experience Heaven by his side.
God’s word and his love are eternal.
Matthew 24:35 English Standard Version (ESV) 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Hebrews 1:10-12 English Standard Version (ESV) 10 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, 12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed.[a] But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”
Even the idea for this post was temporary. I was simply going to write about my college experience and how it shaped me and changed me, but God has other plans. His plans are far greater than any temporary plans we may have, and that is the one huge thing I’ve learned over the past four years.
College was filled temporary whether it was painful or not. College included painful moments, like those I described previously, and being a senior in the midst of a pandemic has been an unexpected journey. Regardless of the pain, I’ve had many joyful moments. I’ve met some of my best friends in college, been about to have amazing experiences, served my fellow students. Spiritually, I got baptized in a lake in the early morning hours, and have since fallen deeper in love with my savior. I’ve been surrounded by positive Christian influences within my university, family, and friends. I’ve learned a lot about life and had a whole lot of fun. My college experience may not have been typical, but it was all worth it.
Find the good in the temporary moments, but look toward eternity.