Home and the Power of Symbolism


As a new professional, I find myself allowing my occupation to consume my life. When I wake in the morning, I am already formulating a plan to make the most of my day for my students. By the time I try to sleep at night, I’m already focused on what tomorrow is going to bring within my hall. My co-workers have become my family and friends, and Muncie, Indiana my new home. Fortunately, the power of symbolism helped reinstate balance to my life.

Recently, a dearly missed friend mailed me a key. This was no ordinary key, however, as it is the only key remaining to what used to be my childhood home. By receiving this key in the mail, I realized I had been neglecting some of the most important people in my life—my family. The people who have always supported me and never doubted me I had let fall onto the backburner. I had become so consumed by my work that I had forgotten some of the people who meant the most to me. This simple key had long expired and no longer held its intended use; however it still had the power to bring me home.

While home this weekend, I noticed that I was surrounded by symbols which held power well beyond their original intentions. Trophies, once rewarded for a tattoo, instead hold the power of remembrance of the deceased ex-girlfriend I was inked for. A toy viewfinder caked in mud, long broken but a token which reminds me how quickly your life can change during a catastrophic flood. And a river, a mighty body of water which held the key to economic prosperity in my area, provided mixed emotions as both the giver and taker of joy throughout my life. These symbols, in culmination with my first visit home in a very long time, was a true catharsis.

Now that I have returned to my new home at Ball State, I have a much clearer view of who I am and how far I have come. I have a genuine appreciation of the blood, sweat, and tears which represent the sacrifice and generosity of my family and friends. Without them, I would not have the privilege to be as lucky as I am and have a job I truly love. Without them, I would have never made it out of high school, not to mention an additional five years of higher education. Without them, I would be nothing.

While I will continue to wake up in the morning excited for the day at hand, and during the evening my thoughts will continue to be focused on my amazing students, I will no longer take those who mean the most to me for granted. And to think, all it took was a simple key. 

Charle Cherry
@charlecherry

Student Affairs - the First Years

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