Don't get me wrong. College has been enjoyable, but in the 3 weeks that I have been here, I didn't truly have fun. I didn't feel like I fit in anywhere. I became good friends with my roommate, and we had some good times together, but that was very isolated. I didn't feel connected to anything or any group. (Marching Band doesn't count. It's a completely different entity.) In fact I was getting pretty bummed out and lonely. I wasn't truly happy here. Like I said, I was having a good time over all. The "collegiate experience" (classes, living in the residence halls, eating at the Union, walking everywhere, etc.) was nice, but nice doesn't add up to much when you don't have anyone to share it with except your roommate.
Here's a few things that have truly been a bright spot in my past week(ish):
At the suggestion of some of the people at my home church, I checked out Laura Street Baptist Church. What can I say. The first service there made me smile. So did the second one. So did Sunday School. So did the people I met. Here's some specific reasons:
- The first day I went, I introduced myself to the pastor after Sunday School and before church. On my way out of church, he shook my hand and said, "Thanks for coming Kara. It was nice to meet you. I hope to see you again."
If you didn't catch that, he remembered my name. After greeting a congregation, giving a sermon, and having other little conversations, he remembered my name!
- This week, (the second time I went), a bunch of people introduced themselves to me. I met a lady that helps with the Baptist Student Union, introduced myself and talked to her for a bit. She offered me rides to church if the guy that is giving me rides right now ever couldn't, answered my questions, and was just so friendly. And here's the kicker: When I went to the BSU tonight for $1 dinner, she remembered my name too! It may not seem like much, but man, if someone can call you by name, you just feel more connected.
- The Sunday School class/teachers. Our teachers invited us over to their house every Monday (starting today) for a lunch. The wife, Teri Ann, was so nice to me on Sunday, and made sure I had a ride there and had her cell phone number and told me to contact her with any questions. Today at their house, everyone was so welcoming and it was such a good time. When it was time for me to head back to class, she gave me a hug and said how glad she was that I could come and told me to call them if I needed anything. (Yes, I realize this is kind of the college-town cliché, but it has really meant so much to have all of these people reach out, care about me, remember me, and be there to help.)
- The music. Ok, first y'all need to know that I love me some hymns. Like really love me some hymns. Like I have a Pandora station that is Southern Gospel Hymns. I love love love singing them. I think they tell a really cool story, they are pretty, and they have so much history behind them! I was happy that at Laura Street, they sing hymns, and then after the children's message, they sing more contemporary songs. This past week, there was such a great mix of songs! Let me show you:
"Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" (Hymn)
Then a group got up and sang really old gospel hymns that I knew, but none of the college kids around me did. This part made me especially happy.
"Victory in Jesus" (Hymn)
"Worthy of Worship" (Hymn)
"The Heart of Worship"
And then another group got up and sang "Reign in Us" by Starfield, which is a song I really love!
To close the service, we sang "Where He Leads I'll Go" (another Hymn)
Does this shed some light on my happiness about church? Not only do we sing lots of awesome songs, a good chunk of them are the hymns that I love so much
|This is most of us playing telephone Pictionary. I'm over on the left side. (You can see my hands!)|
Lastly, I have been connecting with the girls on my floor some more. We have bonded over all sorts of things and have been able to go to lunch together a few times as well. Miranda (my roommate) and I have further confirmed the fact that we are a great pair by discovering that we both like PBS kids shows. We get along so so well and I can't imagine doing college with anyone different!
If you made it this far, I commend you and thank you for hearing me out on my happiness!