Sunday, April 13, 2014

Relieving a College Experience

Testing, testing. Does this blog still work?

I had a flashback tonight of my first year of college.

Remember being a freshman who knows no one (except for perhaps your roommate, whom you met the day you moved in - people, this is before there was Facebook to stalk, ahem, investigate). Then you have to go to the cafeteria. Alone. With your tray. You frantically scan the never-ending room, desperately hoping you see a familiar face. (This is pre-Moody, where bro/sis floors gave you an optionally assigned table, so you at least had somewhere to sit and know people).

I hated that feeling. The lostness and the aloneness. Ugh.
Then you grow up, or so you think. You feel confident and assured and a little, "I got this". And then. It happens. You realize you are not as go-get-'em as you think.

That was tonight.
It was volunteer appreciation dinner night. I help with the kiddos, whom I love and am so thankful to be a part of their lives each week. There isn't a consistent/weekly volunteer with me, so there is either no one or a different person each week in there with me.

I walk in, do the quick scan and don't know a single person. Seriously. I've met the children's director and volunteer recruiter, but don't a single person's name. It was that panicked "WHERE DO I SIT?" feeling all over again.
Eyes frantically scanning, for a familiar face. Could it be one person I know who helps with toddlers will be there? I consider texting her, but refrain. There are chairs with designer handbags, holding spots, random empty chairs. I search even for an empty table, just to be alone (yes, I'm a retreater at times). Nothing.

I spot an option. It makes sense. There is a Hispanic family sitting at a table. Perfect. I sit down quickly. Introduce myself. And awkwardly sit.
I will admit, the internal conversation of "Should I just leave? No one will notice if I'm gone. but then I'll have to walk through the greeting people at the door and that's awkward. Abby, put on your big girl panties and just stay. Sheesh." Yes, these internal conversations are normal.

Then I realize several things:
1). Girl, you have got some insecurities that need to be worked out.
2). Replace the lies with truth about who you are.
3). Be a listener.

I walked away with the following:
* Everyone has a story and they are amazing! I heard just a couple from those at my table and I was awed.
* Be willing to listen - you never know what redemption story you might hear.
* Grownups might be scarier than kids.
* The body of Christ continues to amaze me in its diversity and vastness. The combination of people at the table I sat was astounding.
* People will still think my name is Amy even after I've introduced myself and I'm wearing a name tag.
* French toast in an interesting dessert choice.

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