Dear Delts & Delt Girls:
You’ve held in a special place in my heart for years, and I’ll continue to be grateful for you for a lifetime. It’s hard to fully wrap my mind around what I want to say to you today, but I’m confident in one thing. You made a big impact on my life.
I have no doubt you entered my life at the perfect time. Ya, God’s not so interested in all the socializing we do, and He certainly doesn’t care for all the partying some of us do at different times in our lives. But He is most definitely interested in building our character, in helping shape our true identity, in moving us forward from where we were – to where we need to be.
Without you, I would not be the woman I am today, and for that I am grateful.
Looking back, our relationship seems meant to be. That first week of college in the fall of 1994, Denise and I walked down the main street of campus, passing countless fraternity and sorority houses on the way. After several blocks, we came to the Delta Tau Delta house on the corner. It was rush week, and you were all playing a game of volleyball on the lawn outside. One of you must have called me and Denise over, because before I knew it, Denise was talking to a bunch of guys, and I was engaged in conversation with my future husband, Seth.
The relationship stuck, and before we knew it, we were fully immersed in life with the Delts. For some reason, you welcomed me and Denise with open arms and shortly after, our closest girlfriends joined in the fun. You were the Delts, and the handful of us girls became affectionately known as the “Delt Girls.”
Nearly every Friday and Saturday night, we found ourselves at your fraternity house. Most needed a special invite to enter, but because we were the Delt Girls and everyone knew us, we walked right in, no problem. And once we got in? Let’s just say there was a LOT of partying to be done. We had a blast! We danced the night away, right into the early morning, with all that loud music in the basement. “Sweet Caroline” and “Come On Eileen” were some of our favorites, among other modern classics like “Baby Got Back.” Sure, we’d venture to other houses once in a while, but you were our home base, the place we called “home.”
In fact, we’d spent so many hours at the Delt house that first year of college that by the time Seth and I started dating in the spring of 1995, I knew that house like the back of my hand. It sounds dramatic, but it’s true. Every square foot of that house is still etched in my mind 16-17-18-19 years later.
And all those Delta Tau Delta formals? We got dressed to the nines and gathered together for special nights out. I’ll never forget those nights either. We brought our best adult selves to the table, and after a formal banquet, awards and recognition, we danced the night away. Those nights made me feel so grown up – I was growing up.
Ya, there was a boat load of dancing and partying, hanging together until crazy late hours of the night during those years. But here’s the thing. We were in this unique place between childhood and adulthood. And having been through those years in the most classic of ways myself, I’d wish it for anyone. It’s a unique time of life where you’re fully child and fully adult, completely irresponsible and completely responsible all at the same time.
If I had to go back, I’d do some things differently, sure. But considering the big picture of life, I don’t regret a moment. Those years with you, the Delts and Delt Girls, shaped my character quite significantly.
Speaking of character, I have one last thing to add…YOU were men of character. That’s why I’m proud to have known you, that’s why I’m comfortable admitting I don’t regret a moment. You were men of integrity. You were intelligent beyond belief. You were going places in life. You were funny and witty, classy and down to earth all at the same time. You were warm and always welcoming, and you were all going to be great husbands and dads someday. When I didn’t find a place among the sorority sisters on campus, you made me feel like I belonged. The Delts – you were my guys. Every one of you, including Seth, my loving husband of 15 years. The Delt Girls – you were my girls. Through thick and thin, you were there, through it all. We were all there, in community, together.
Seth and I have three kids now. As a parent, I, of course, don’t want them to party it up hard in college. But what I do desire for my children is safe place to be, a safe place to land, for those in-between years where they’re fully child and fully adult, before they know who they really are. It’s a vulnerable time, really, and I’m just so grateful I found that kind of community in you. I’m grateful for who you were. You made me laugh, you helped me have fun, you welcomed me into your home and you made me feel comfortable. And best yet, you introduced me to my husband, my favorite Delt of all.
*If you’d like to read more from my #31Days Letters to the Unthanked series, click here for the landing page where all the letters are listed and linked!
SPECIAL NOTE TO MY READERS: This letter wasn’t as easy to write as I thought it would be when I planned the series. I was nervous to write before I even started. In fact, there was a part of me that wanted to keep all these years of gratitude to myself, skip right over this post, and leave it at that. You see, the truth is, as I publish this letter and know it will have a permanent place on my blog, there’s a part of me that worries what other people will think. I’m worried there will be judgement, whispering. She wasn’t as good of a girl as I thought. She wasn’t as wholesome as I thought she was. She partied with fraternity boys on multiple occasions and now she’s publishing it for all the world to see? But I’m sitting in my truth. My whole heart is laid out for you in this post today and I believe there’s something to be gained from it, for me and for you. This group of individuals was pivotal in my life, and although I’m MUCH, MUCH more conservative today than I was during those years, I’m not ashamed of who I was during that time. So thank you in advance for seeing deeper than what might appear on the surface. I ask NOT for judgement, but for deeper understanding. It’s the coming together of multiple life experiences that makes an individual who they are. God can use anything and anyone to shape us into our best selves.