No sooner had I been wrestling with this new-found depression that the community I was seeking did not exist and I needed to stop looking for it… Did I stumble across something WONDERFUL!
Through a series of invitations and morning church services here and there, I found myself going to EARLY service (9:15am) at Horizons Community Church – those of you who know me… KNOW Christina does not do EARLY not on regular days and ESPECIALLY not on the weekends. So this was a challenge, but I wanted to get the service because there is a singles group that meets during 2nd service (11:00am) a much more reasonable time. 😀
My friend and I had visited once before and had an OK response, but she wanted to go again. Insert eye roll here… FINE! But this Sunday felt different; it seemed warmer, nicer, more people, more space, and an almost Excited feeling. The meeting wasn’t anything special and the pastor really didn’t get very far into his topic, before it was time to break. Yet, I was liking how things had gone. (Side note: there seemed to be a good selection of single men in the room in my age bracket… DID I MENTION I’M A SINGLE GIRL.)
I was invited to the evening EVENT called THE BUCKET at 5:30pm, but I wasn’t really looking forward to the commute home and back… YES the gas line of the budget has had to INCREASE just a smidge. But after a conversation with one of the members who not only invited me but asked me THREE TIMES if I was going… although I did a pretty good job at hiding it…. I had ALREADY decided: TO GO.
The initial entrance into the room was rough because I was walking into someone ELSE’s house ALONE (my friend had to work) for a pot luck and I didn’t even know where the KITCHEN was. But I kept telling myself to push through and for no other reason than to say that I went. But as soon as I was outside on the back patio that ALL completely changed. The whole group seemed to be welcoming and accepting. The conversation was natural and NOT all about me (you know how some people go overboard with the who are you and what do you do stuff your VERY FIRST TIME – then conveniently forget about you the next moment).
I laughed so hard and for so long at everything from a rigged ping-pong match to winning some bean bag toss to speed scrabble where I think I unintentionally cheated (spelling has never been my strong suit) to hearing the funniest story about a Milwaukee, Wisconsin jail. I was trying to work through a series of feelings inside my head, as I was figuring out what to do and where to go at moments, but the hardest parts involved my anxiety and expectations and fear… but just when I would get so trapped in my head with that stuff, I would hear someone call my name because it was MY TURN to have to go play something or someone would talk to me. In a time in my life where I seem to be alone, I would have never imagined hearing my name, just that simple expression or want of need of me would bring me so much joy. This would YANK me right out of the confusion in my head and back into the reality of the moment and I “HAD” to step up and focus on that. It was nice to be “forced” back into the moment. To make myself stop playing the what if game and just enjoy the experience. I actually stopped trying to predict the future and worry about what one thing will mean or cause and just Feel the joy and embrace the (what’s the word) oh yeah love.
For the first time in I can’t tell you how long… I really felt like I was in a room full of people who were expressing love to each other. And just because I had shown up I was included in this. People who were not afraid to engage me in conversation, talk to me as a person, and make me feel like they really cared; EVEN THOUGH I WAS A COMPLETE STRANGER. Ahh I miss those days of feeling loved and accepted just by walking through the door.
I noticed this morning that I cannot WAIT for the weekend. I want to be with these people again, it’s not just one person, it’s not just A GUY, it’s just the joy and excitement I feel when I am with them. Even last Sunday when I was solo, I still had women sit next to me and I felt I could initiate conversation with them; WITHOUT fear of rejection; WITHOUT fear of humiliation or judgement. There were new people in the room and some I met and others I just got to see. It was nice to be in a room full of people who on one level or another were HAPPY TO SEE YOU!
I also realized while I was driving this morning that even if NONE of these single guys ends up asking me out… I am ok with that.. I KNOW I KNOW hard to believe Christina is ACTUALLY letting those words out of her mouth; But its TRUE!! Even if each and every one of these guys turns into just a friend… it means I will have BROTHERS again. I miss the relationships I had with David, Nate, Miles, Leo, Kelly, Brian, Jeremiah, Gary, Todd, Matt, Dan, Joe, Eric, Jeremy, Van, and MANY MANY Others where they were EXACTLY that to me… brothers. Men I trusted to protect me as a child of God and a Sister in Christ. And it has been well onto 14 years since I have felt that kind of care, courtesy, safety, and protection.
I know it’s still early yet (I’ve only been a few times)…. but this group has potential… and despite Brent’s objections to this form of measurement: it FEELS right.