"In This Kind Of Love, As Emerson Said, Do You Love Me? Means Do You See The Same Truth?"

• I spent a recent weekend embracing revertigo. It's easy to consider the affliction purely in negative terms, given that it involves becoming the self that you used to be, which is contrary to everything we tell ourselves about growth and maturation and the other labels we give to getting boring. But a friend of mine helped me realize that the term is free of judgment and only becomes positive or negative within a given context. "I feel like I'm the best version of myself around these people," he said to me, speaking of the friends in our presence, and I knew what he meant. • We've all of us been scarred by the world, but there's nothing like spending time with people who went to the same private university you did and who received the same level of education and occasionally downright terrible spiritual and career guidance to make you realize how much you have in common, and how it's something a broader swath of humanity can never understand. We joke about the bad classes, we lament the horrible air of micromanagement that seeped into the administration's efforts to guide the faith of the student body, and we rail against the occasional instructors who told us that, for whatever reason, we're not cut out to achieve our dreams.

• I remember being 20 years old and having a ranking professor in the political science department tell me that, because of my faith, I would never make it as a film critic on the New York Times level. I didn't know if he meant that a good Christian would choose to avoid the varied roster of films that are required viewing for most critics, or if trying to make it in such a mainstream publication would be to abandon my faith; he probably meant all that and more, but I'll never know. He told me this in the context of an interview I had to endure before I could participate in a film studies program my junior year, and though at 20 I was pretty dumb, I wasn't stupid enough to contradict the man in that setting. I simply nodded and said I knew he was right and understood his point, but inside I knew that I was done with that place and every fucked up and misguided thing about its mentality. In a weird way, the school often acted as a refining fire, burning off the parts of my faith that mirrored the worst parts of the university and leaving me with something struggling and different and entirely better for me.

• And oh, the conversations you can have with these people, these wounded and wandering people who share so much of your past that every word carries with it the subtext of what it means to grow up in these worlds and to get beyond them. I sat in a bar the other night with four other men my age as we did our best to map out the problems facing the faithful few of our generation and what it means to finally let go of the last shred of the familiar in order to embrace the necessary.

• Because the biggest problem facing my alma mater is the misconception that there's something special about the school or the place, when it's the people you can meet there. It's an understandable problem, but still a stupid one reflective of a mindset that building improvements will make a church better. And you can always tell who from the school gets it and who doesn't. Every year at homecoming, another senior citizen would address the daily convocation and say that of all the things they liked about our university, the chapel service is what they missed the most. And when I hear that, I always think: You didn't have any friends here, or anyway, not like mine, not like the ones you could have had.