A year ago today, changed my life forever. It was the last night of Student Week of Prayer Retreat, the night were we all come clean about everything. Every single person has a story to tell, and it either brings tears to the family of us listening or it's so incredibly hard for the person to get through their story without bursting into tears. For me, I was the last one to go. I was scared out of my mind. Apparently I started shaking about half way through the night. I remember Pastor Matt coming next to me as we knelt in a circle around the person who had just finished telling their testimony. We prayed for them and then he asked me if I was ok. He told me I was shaking. A tear trickled down my cheek and I couldn't speak. "Wrong question at the wrong time?" He said. I nodded.
We sat there as the next person went up and took the hot seat. When they finished, and we'd prayed for them we got back up in our seats. Pastor Matt turned to me again, "What's going on?" He asked sincerely.
"I just don't know what to do! At first I was just going to smooth over the subject and briefly explain my spiritual journey, but everyone else is going into full depth, their whole story! Half of me says I owe it to them to do the same, and the other half says I need to just be shallow. I keep going back and forth in my mind, something is telling me to go for it, and something is telling me to hold back. I don't know what to do! Which one do I listen to? I'm scared!" I managed to get out inbetween sobs.
"Just because everyone else is doing something doesn't mean you have to." He said.
"I know, but like you said last night when I asked you why we share prayer requests, 'life is all about building relationships' right?"
"Yeah, but don't feel like you have to share something you're not comfortable sharing."
Finally my turn came. I made everyone do jumping jacks to get some endorphins. It was two in the morning and everyone had been crying the whole night. I needed some endorphins to make it. I started with an explanation of how my original intention was to be shallow, but I decided I owed it to them to go deeper. So I went in... it just gushed out. I remember looking into the faces I was telling all of this to, deep concern on their faces.
Hugs came afterwards. Comments of unbelief. Someone with a similiar story stuck by my side and we shared more stories of our past.
The next morning we woke up early to get a head start. I was so insecure. I thought they all looked at me differently now. It was hard. But I'm sure that's how everyone felt.
I sit back and reflect on this tonight and I can't help wondering, what happened? I look at the person I was a year ago and the person I see today and I can't grasp the concept of how quickly change has taken place. About equal change, good and bad. There's only two other SWOP speakers from last year left at this school, but last night we had another come back from college to visit. It was almost a mini reunion. We all agreed it felt very weird to think a year ago we were at Mivoden experiencing what new people are experiencing tonight. We all want to go back SO baddly!
I got a text from one of my best friends on the trip right now. He had drawn out his spiritual journey, and they were getting ready to explain them, they probably just started. He sent me a picture of it, and I found my initials on the page. It brought a few tears to my eyes. I can't wait to hear about their experience when they get back, but I wish I was there!
I don't want to be here right now. All my friends are gone for the evening. My girl friends went out to town. All the boys are partying at a house. And then the rest are gone at SWOP. I had to work front desk this evening, and afterwards I went to dinner right as they were closing, brought my food up to my newly rearrange room and ate it on my bed alone with the Rob Bell background video music playing softly as my form of entertainment, I guess. I wanted to be sympathetic to my situation. I began thinking Woe is me! I'm all alone for the night... the poor girl who misses SWOP retreat. The poor girl whose grandfather died this week. The poor girl whose parents won't let her go out with friends. Oh woe is me. But then I realized sulking isn't going to get me anywhere. No one is here to feel sorry for me, why should I feel sorry for myself. And then I kind of began to enjoy it. I always have people in my room, or I'm visiting in other peoples room. I never have me time. It's kind of nice every once in a while I guess.
Something is welling up inside of me and I thought by putting these lovely words together on a page, and sending it out to the world to see, it would help get it out. Unfortunately this doesn't seem to be true. So now I'm back to the beginning. What do I do?