I have been to Nashville, Tennessee before, but never has a 1970 Volvo picked me up from the airport. Obviously, from a first glance, its owner, Matt Girgis, has some swag. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally content with my Honda Civic, but his car, suitably named Eloise, is pretty stinkin’ legit; indeed, it made me feel legit.
Besides crushing on the car, I was also pretty stoked to see Matt. I mean, I have been talking on the phone with him since mid-summer but have never actually met him in person, so it was good to finally do that four months later.
After catching up during the drive, I got out of the car and was on the Vanderbilt University campus where a lot of the BYX guys’ dorms are located. With this being my 8th visit, I have experienced a lot of different living rooms and couches to sleep on, but the set up of this dorm living room/kitchen was awesome.
They call it the Launch Pad, which is rightfully named. All the walls are blacked out with black paper, covered in glow-in-the-dark stars, a few planets here and there, Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling, and that’s about it. Needless to say…I slept amongst the stars…isn’t that a saying somewhere?
Anywho, most of Sunday night was getting acclimated to the Launch Pad, hanging out and having some great pizza with a few BYX bros. Also, after getting addicted to Breaking Bad the week before, I gave into my craving and watched one episode before the night ended. God help Walter White and his ways.
Monday morning provided an unexpected, yet exciting experience. I woke up at 6am (nature called) and got to see the stunning sunrise from the window of my living room-bedroom; thank you God for your beauty and for my bladder. I didn’t have meetings with guys until 10am so I was able to walk around Nashville in the brisk morning weather, much to my delight.
With the free time I had, I did what any normal, young, hungry man would do: I found a Krispy Kreme down the street. Their devilish, yet delectable donuts drew me to their doors, and I was delivered exactly what every Krispy Kreme customer deliberately desires, a warm, freshly drizzled donut.
After making friends with the man who told me I look like Clark Kent (I guess it was the glasses, not muscles) and handed me my donuts, I left feeling really good about the start of my day.
The rest of the day consisted of meeting with some studly officers and future officers. I would say it was weird getting to see the current officers finally while also meeting the next set of guys I would be working with, but regardless, each one of my talks was encouraging. The Nu Chapter has some incredible leaders and men that are making a difference in their chapter and at Vanderbilt.
I re-learned a word on Monday and am still unable to pronounce it correctly – Arboretum. When I strive to speak it, I stutter something along the lines of smashing the phrase, “Are you bored Tom?” together – Areyeboredtom…Arebortom? My brain is cruel sometimes. But anyways, I learned this word from Matt Girgis during our campus tour. To make a long story short, the Vanderbilt campus is a beautiful arboretum with mass quantities of leaves and squirrels.
After dinner at The Pub where I connected with some more BYX bros, I attended and spoke at their chapter. The Nu Chapter guys are a blast! I could really see the brotherhood and unity among them and how they balanced having fun and taking things seriously really well. I was very thankful how receptive and friendly their brothers were while I spoke and while we were hanging out afterwards.
I know God is doing big things in this chapter and its men. Obviously there are a lot of things that they can work on, just like any chapter, but I am excited to see them flourish. There’s no doubt that God will continue to move through them on campus. I also love getting to see the fruit of guys’ prayers from other chapters around the nation; prayer is powerful!
I hate that I can’t do shout-outs for everyone, because honestly, I would love to talk about all the stud brothers I hung out with, but that would make this a novel instead of a blog.
I do want to give a shout-out to Harrison Nam for being one of the best magicians I have known personally. Or maybe just the only legit one, but he is absolutely, insanely talented. If you want your mind to be blown, then hang out with this dude.
Regarding Drew Herrmann, I missed him since our COR Leadership Retreat experience this past August, so it was great to connect with him and hang again.
I would also like to give a shout-out to Andrew Peace for two things: 1) for being the next prez I get to work with closely now, which I’m super stoked about, and 2) for going thrifting with me and looking for flannels. Although he found a cool sweater and I didn’t, I still had a grand ol’ time.
The rest of Tuesday yielded some deep conversations, encouraging interactions and a Cookout milkshake, which is always a great way to end the night.
This final visit was refreshing. Yes, there were some serious discussions and work that needed to be done, but overall I had a blast connecting with these guys. There was a lot of joking, laughing, singing (thanks Ted Moock), and memories made.
The Nu Chapter is full with God’s joy, and it was evident in my time spent with each and every brother. Really, life is so much better with Jesus. He alone is the one who provides all the strength, joy and blessings that we need. How pleasing is it that we get to dwell in that with our fellow brothers? I am exceedingly grateful.