Just under two years ago, I posted this. It was the summer after my senior year of high school, just a month and a half before we moved away from our little county and moved in with my grandparents, about six months before I moved away from home all together to come work at the Little Mission. Feels like much, much longer. In that post, I talked about my experiences with visiting my home church's young adult group. It didn't go so well.
Over the course of the last few weeks, we've, kind of, found a new church. Number fourteen for the 'rents and the sibs, though I'm not quite certain how many of those I've accompanied them to. It's a little Community Church, and the people are kind and real and the worship is good and it's starting to feel like home. Kind of. They, erm, they have a College and Career ministry. I've been going to Sunday School. So far the work schedule has prevented me from doing anything else, but anyway. I kind of...like it. Kind of. There's all these people who are older than me, lots of recent college graduates, lots of looking-for-internships, applying-for-jobs. I'm one of four-ish girls, in a class with, well, a lot of guys. Who talk. A lot. Group discussion is kind of male-dominated, and partially consists of me and this other girl giving each other looks across the circle. But it's good. And fun. I'm still kind of learning the lingo, trying to keep up with names. They've all known each other for a crazy-long time, and that can make one feel, kind of, small. And it's hard to start to feel like a part of a group you only see once a week, which would be different if I could pull off being there at any other time, but so far, nada.
Being with people my own age is one of the things I'm worst at. In youth group, it was the Me-and-Joy show, so everything was easy. Then at the Little Mission, being my typical shy, socially inept self was a non-option, seeing as how I spent every waking moment with the same, like, seven people who were everything to me - friends, family, coworkers, support system, etc. That kind of closeness, the kind that forced me to be me, doesn't happen in a Sunday School classroom. So so far, with the New Church, I've laughed. Giggled. Searched for opportunities to interject a clever or on-topic comment. Succeeded maybe half-a-dozen times. It's hard when they're all telling stories from camp together when they were twelve. I was halfway across the country when they were twelve.
This morning, I laughed very hard at a very funny story. I admitted to having watched the first five minutes of Sharknado. I hummed my agreement to a point in the lesson. I almost volunteered to read, but was beat to it by somebody else. I shared a commiserating glance with the girl I, think, I can call my friend. Progress?
The hardest thing is hoping people can look at quiet and see shy and nervous instead of aloof and arrogant. Can look at hardly-ever-here and see busy, not detached and doesn't care. And the fact that I care what people think when they look at me says one thing - I'm here. It was funny, when Mom asked if I was okay with this church being where we stay, I told her, one-hundred-percent seriously, that I never would've set foot in a Sunday School classroom full of people my own age if I hadn't intended on staying at the church.
Wish me luck?