My community is Safe
As I was chatting with a new friend at Theology on Tap the other night, discussing our similar places in life: single, discerning, transitions, potential changes, all the things... I was struck by how crazy alike our lives were, and how beautiful it was!
What struck me the most, though, is this: my community is safe.
Safe to share my story.
Safe to be silly.
Safe to talk about God.
Safe to be myself.
Safe to get to know others.
The last time I felt safe in my community was when I was in college. I loved the people I was around, and I knew they loved me. That ended in 2007.
I graduated. I lived with a whole bunch of girls. I had my close friends. And, then... it was hard. To makes new friends. To find community. To feel safe. I lived right outside of Washington, DC where there is a PLETHORA of things to do and people to meet. You would think that I would have found my people... but I struggled. I struggled to get involved. I struggled to find my place. I struggled to put myself out there.
Then I went to Honduras. With the best intentions and purest desire to follow God's call for me to serve. I was thrown in to a whole lot of change. New place. New culture. New people. I was barely hanging on to my faith [thank God for weekly Mass and the priest that knew some English to go to confession]. While I was with some of the most amazing people I have ever met, I found myself teetering between who I thought I should be with not having any flipping clue. Looking back, I realize now that I was hiding. I was hiding from myself and from my friends. I didn't feel safe to explore.
Then I moved to Florida. To a place where I knew one family- my bff, her hubby and their brand new baby girl. With this family... I began to feel safe. I could begin to explore. To find the courage to find my people.
And I found them online. Through this blog and social media. This is where I felt the safest to talk about me. To talk about my faith. To over share if I wanted... and no one would bat an eye. I didn't feel alone in my discernment. I could talk about my insecurities and my joys. Dig deeper into who I was created to be and how I was able to be that person.
For so long I was uncomfortable in my skin, but I didn't know that. I was just a little lost, but I'm not sure I could have told you that either. Back then I didn't really know what I needed. I wasn't in the place -mentally, spiritually, emotionally- to figure it out. It's not until you feel safe enough to push through the fog to move forward, that you realize how uncomfortable and lost you were.
Fast forward to today. Today, I am parting of a thriving community of wonderful young adults in my area. I have helped build this community out of basically nothing. It hasn't been easy, nor do I get along with everyone swimmingly. :) But, I have met some amazing friends. Friends that I will cherish for the rest of my life. People that I genuinely enjoy being around. People that build me up.
A place where I feel safe.
It's something that I have longed for, but couldn't put into words. It's something that I will always be looking for if and when I find myself looking for a new community in the future. We are not called to live this life by ourselves... we are all called to be part of something where we can learn and grow. To lift each other up and to comfort each other when we need it.
I hope and pray that you find yourselves in an amazing community! If it's just online right now, don't be ashamed! There is beauty here, too. Continue to pray and reach out to others... you will find your people. I just know it.
I am praying for you. :)
Love, blessings and hugs,