Finding Your Blessing of Place

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Finding Your Blessing of Place

Sarah Lipo stands by her grandmother.

Sarah Lipo stands by her grandmother.

Photo by Courtesy of Sarah Lipo

Sarah Lipo stands by her grandmother.

Photo by Courtesy of Sarah Lipo

Photo by Courtesy of Sarah Lipo

Sarah Lipo stands by her grandmother.

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As an only child, my grandma grew up in a small town outside the huge, always busy metropolis that is New York City. Her mother and grandmother are her best friends, her confidantes and role models.

Today, I look up to her as my own role model. She’s someone I love to call when I’m at school, her calls usually ending with a witty remark, but often saying goodbye with compelling, personalize advice.

One of my favorites is her advice on finding a ‘blessing of place’, a saying she uses to describe having special places that quickly become important parts in your life.

As she grew up, her small town comfort that stems from her church and community, provides her anchors of trust and values. She often tells me stories about her small town, meeting my grandpa and raising her five children. Like our phone calls end, our conversations end with a piece of advice too, something I file away in my head for later.

I think about a ‘blessing of place’ frequently, questioning my definition of home. I realize home is often a feeling rather than a physical place. It can take the form of a person, meal or a warm, safe feeling you never want to go away.

For me, it is speeding down side streets in my hometown, screaming words to my favorite tunes with the windows down. It’s watching the clouds shift and change by Lake Michigan during sunny days in August, taco night in my kitchen and sitting by the pond in my backyard, with the sun warming my tanned legs.

Home encompasses so many things, people and places. It allows me to step back and feel grateful for the places and the people I hold close. Since coming to Marquette, I realize where you plant your roots and form your connections do matter. There are certain people you stick with while learning and growing, and those who are often the ones who push you to become the best version of yourself.

My grandma’s words of wisdom ring true because entering college uproots you, places you somewhere far from your home and your connections, and it allows you to grow in discomfort alongside new people who may become your best friends.

Those places can be an Amtrak ride away from home, to the Les Aspin Center for Government in Washington D.C., or across the world to Delhi, India, where I learned about different world religions, and met people who pushed me to delve deeper and think critically about other’s experiences.

I remember the overwhelming feeling of coming to campus for the time freshman year like it was yesterday. Those unfamiliar aspects turned into the places I go to to seek comfort, like the fifth floor of Memorial Library buried deep in the bookshelves, or the electric feeling of Tuesday night Mass at St. Joan of Arc Chapel.

Wisconsin Avenue during October lined with the bright colors of fall, my favorite table in the Brew, doing homework in the turret room of my sorority house with a mug of hot chocolate during dark and dreary winter afternoons, the familiar path to the lake I have run more times than I can count, a BroYo breakfast sandwich during the Saturday morning rush and twinkly lights in the screened in porch of my apartment are all part of my own “blessing of place.” 

Finding that “blessing of place” can take time and it can feel daunting. It is helpful to slow down, sit back and think about how eight semesters can be full of so many people, organizations, new coffee shops, undiscovered diners, early evening Milwaukee clouds, inspiring professors and forever friends that give you that feeling that you know you are in the right place.

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