[Submitted in December 2013 by Terry Gutshall, 1974 OC grad, Gillman City, Missouri]
I enjoy looking at the pictures on the OC website of the activities and events that occur on campus. Since I can’t seem to get down there very often, it’s about the only way I have to keep in contact.
I always enjoy the Homecoming pictures. I recently looked at the pictures of Harold Fletcher’s 90th birthday party. Whenever I see pictures or read something about some of the faculty and staff people I knew from my time at OC, it gets me to thinkin’ about all the great times and people I experienced there. It’s a little shocking to see the white hair (or less hair) and how much different some of them look who were the younger faculty, staff and administrators in my day. Even some there that I was in school with are likely not far from retirement.
I thought about an expression that people use sometimes when thinking or talking about when a generation begins to move off the stage and younger ones take their place. When it happens, one might think “who’s gonna fill their shoes?” When something that has been good goes through a time of change, it usually brings with it mixed feelings. Parts of those feelings are sadness and uncertainty about the future. We fear that the things that are changing are ‘going downhill.’ We may feel like the ‘good days’ are over. It will never be the same.
We may be slow to give the ‘new generation’ a chance to ‘measure up’ to the previous generation. As we get older, we notice this kind of change more and more. It’s pretty common to always think the ‘next generation’ is not as good as ours. We see changes happening in our world, our country, our communities, our families, our schools, and maybe … ourselves. We see it in sports and entertainment. But sometimes when we compare the ‘good ole days’ with today, we look back through ‘rose-colored glasses’ and don’t really remember that they weren’t really as ‘rosy’ as we would like to think. It’s easy to feel old, get depressed and dwell on the fact that it’s ‘never gonna be the same.’
I have found myself thinking that way a lot in the last few years. But maybe we should look around and remind ourselves that it’s not as bad as it seems, and that many things are going in the right direction. I believe one of those places where the future looks bright, and better days are ahead, is Oklahoma Christian University!
When I came down for Homecoming two years ago, after not having been there for 25 years, I saw a place that was so different in many ways. I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew from keeping up as much as I could that there had been a lot of changes. The campus looked much different. I was afraid I wouldn’t even recognize the place and maybe I’d get lost and couldn’t find my way around. Maybe I thought that I’d get that ‘It’s not like it used to be’ feeling and think it’s ‘just not the same as the good old days.’
But ya know what? I didn’t get that feeling at all that those days are over and it’s just not the same! I believe it’s even better and the best days are ahead. I was happy to see so many positive things going on and that it wasn’t like so many things that I had been seeing that seemed to be going downhill. I have been impressed with what I’ve seen and read about the ‘new generation’ that has come along to fill the leadership roles. And I like what I see and hear about the students and about those who have graduated and found their place and work in life because of their experience at OC.
EVEN THOUGH THERE A LOT OF THINGS THAT ARE NEW AND DIFFERENT, I SEE THE SAME OLD SPIRIT AND CHRISTIAN ATMOSPHERE. I LIKE THE NEW THINGS I SAW. THE THING THAT PROBABLY AMAZES THOSE OF US FROM OUR DAY IS THE TREES! HA! So, really, it’s the same old place; just the faces are different.
So if we ever get to feeling like nobody will ‘fill their shoes,’ let’s remember who REALLY started the whole thing and who wears the BIG shoes. We can’t fill the Lord’s shoes and we don’t have to. He will always be there keeping OC growing. God has been filling the shoes with newer people ever since day one and will keep bringing in more of that caliber for as long as OC fulfills His plan for it.
Terry Gutshall, ’74 Eagle!