It’s me again. Just thought I’d come and say hello, y’know.
When you started University, I knew you were seeking faith but I was still there lurking. Those people in school had given you a tough time, saying the Bible was full of lies. A Methodist, Christian, Liberal, Left, all these words jumbled, you weren’t sure where you stood. Each year, at Greenbelt, I would be non-existent. You would be full of the energy received from the collision of justice and faith, rooted in feeling home. But then, back at school, I would come creeping back, filling your mind again.
University came, and you threw me out. You kept wrestling with me, asking questions like, ‘who am I’; ‘what is faith’; ‘am I a Christian?’; ‘Can I go out and party but still be true to myself’? Then along came Sam. A geographer, liberal, food lover, Northern, tea drinker, my best friend, a Methodist. A METHODIST. Someone like you. Just like you! I knew I had no hope then. You held on tight, and five years later still as close as ever.
From there came Ella, Katherine, Emma, Claire and the Chaplain. A whole community came and rooted you in all that Methodism and Chaplaincy goodness like a really sticky cake. You went to Taize, and that’s when I knew I had really lost you. Then Iona, volunteering with Asylum Seekers with STAR; living out faith in community; meals together at SCM; meeting best friends; studying interesting geographies (sometimes); and helping form a worshipping community. It took a while, but you found it all eventually, and boy oh boy were you glad. It all came and rooted you down and you opened up about me and it was okay. I’m there in everyone, somewhere.
But then, sometimes, you were seduced into glitter and mojitos and it all went a bit ‘tits up’. I crept back in – hah, I knew I hadn’t lost you. Making sense of your two sides, faith and fun, you’re not bored but……
You went to South Africa, and BAM. Seeing God in poverty, the beauty of community, reconciling those issues and it all came together. You realised how lucky you were. You grew up, you were becoming a woman. Blimey.
And then, oh then, you met number one boy. A Baptist, deep thinking loveliness that listened and helped you push me away even further. That energy came back, faith and justice collided once more and I ain’t been back since. Pure luck, but that boy has been bad news for me. Chance is he is forever, so I really have got no hope.
- Don’t worry if you haven’t found church and community immediately. I didn’t, it took about a year.
- You don’t make all your best friends in the first week.
- If you don’t like going out, or if that really isn’t your thing, that’s cool because it’s not the majority of peoples’ either. You will find beautiful friends who want to have nights in all the time.
- Work hard but also have lots of fun too.
- It’s okay to try lots of different church’s, or find a church that is completely different to the one you grew up in.