By Kate Long, Christ Church Macon
Flying by myself was awesome. I had the entire airport to roam on my own volition; I felt so “adult."
Then I arrived to my hotel in Salt Lake and immediately expected to be told what to do and when to do it because that is how every other church event in my life has been structured. Instead I had to check into my room by myself and figure out dinner by myself. So then I had a miniature meltdown because I was lonely. I was afraid I had made all the church friends I could in high school and that was it, no more friends. I decided no one else was going to be like me or like me. I cried and wanted to fly home to Georgia.
But then something cool happened. The spirit moved to me call my high school youth leader who informed me that people really believe I can do something good here. Even better yet he told me it was awesome if everybody else was different because that is how many ways I would see God and grow with Him.
On my solo walk to dinner I found two people who I had met at previous events. They greeted me with running hugs- the kind where you see them off in the distance and run until you collide with them- and reminded me that at one point in time I had not met them yet either.
At Why Serve, the the discernment programming I am attending, welcoming meeting we were "intentionally welcome." While standing in a circle, young adults spoke aloud myriad groups welcomed to this convention and this program: every ethnicity, every language, every socioeconomic class, chronic illness sufferers, those who feel marginalized and those who do not, every gender identity, every religious and spiritual perception.
Jesus was alone in the desert for 40 days and nights, but at the end he was reunited with his people for another journey. In our lives, we go through cycles of wanting to be alone and wanting to be included. When angels lead you to a group, you can not help but decide it's a reunion- even if you have never met them.