The New Normal
Nov. 9, 2014
Today, for my first post in November, I share about my first visit as an alum at BG.
I sit here at my desk writing that I did enjoy my weekend up in BG. From Friday evening through Saturday evening, I enjoyed some much long awaited time with friends and other people I appreciate who remain at my college ministry. My campus ministry had celebrated its 30-year anniversary. Because of all the activities and my work schedule, I could not see everyone whom I wanted to see. I also could not stay for the Sunday morning service because of time. Still, my visit was great, and I am content.
One thing I enjoyed the most was my time spent with my former roommates out at Colorado two summers ago. We got to hear about what God has been doing in each other’s lives and how we were growing. It sounded like both of us found each other’s stories over the past five months really encouraging for the other.
Another thing I enjoyed was peace.
Over the past five months, I had the time working through bitterness I had towards people in my final two years of college. My grievances with this handful of people is why I feel ashamed about leaving my college ministry on bad terms. Throughout the summer to this point in time, I have been expressing and processing through all the emotions. Forgiveness has been a process for me. I have had really good, peaceful days. Then, of course, I’ve had really low and bad days. My process started out especially difficult when I became incensed by one out of eleven people who reacted unfavorably to an innocent card of appreciation I sent them. Man, that felt like a dagger to my heart after the other stuff I dealt with the person’s friends.
Okay… So, after processing the emotions, I found peace upon my return to BG. A month earlier, I had prepared how I would react to some of the people who hurt me had they approached me. Whether they were friendly or not, I wanted to make a point of showing mercy upon these people by responding in a friendly and neutral manner.
As I prepared for these possible interactions, I kept meditating on Romans chapter 12. Paul writes to never “repay evil with evil” but to “do what is honorable in the sight of all.”
Have you ever had those times when you wanted to chew someone out? Curse someone out? Tear someone down with your words because you feel ‘I am right and they are wrong’? Many times in my young adulthood, I have felt that. I’m not ashamed to share that I’ve even given in to those feelings and even let someone have it with my words. I struggle with that from time to time when I am dealing with hurt feelings of the past.
Well, keeping Paul’s strong admonishment in mind over the past two months has been helpful for me seeking to be merciful to people who had hurt me in some way. I wasn’t sure if I would see these people or they would seek me out. I just wanted to be “honorable” to them by doing what is “honorable in the sight of all.” I thought of people who love me. Would my parents, my sister, my counselor, my close Christian friends at BG… my new friends at my new home church? Would they say I did an honorable thing if I was nasty and bitter — if I sought revenge with my words? Then, I thought about Jesus. He definitely wouldn’t think so. Even He was respectable to the Pharisees when he called them vipers (because the Pharisees knew better and had blinded themselves by religion and pride). More importantly, Jesus has shown and will continue to show mercy on me whenever I hurt him by sin and struggles I succumb to in life. With that mindset, I wanted to show the same mercy of Christ on people who hurt me.
Fortunately for all, I did not even see any of the people I was hurt by at my short stay in BG. Therefore, I had no anxiety about possibly interacting those people. I did see the person who I inadvertently upset over an innocent card. However, our presence around each other was non-eventful; five months ago, that person requested that we no longer communicate in any form. So, I did not seek them out and respected their staunch boundary, even though I was happy to greet others around us.
Now that I’m back home, I’ve returned to the new normal. My new normal has included working a full-time job, volunteering twice a month in the hospital, being a part of a new church family, managing my own budget, and being myself as I continue to live with my parents. Part of my new normal has included the rigorous task of forgiving. It’s a process. The process has been easier now that I no longer see certain people from college and, thus, who no longer affect my life in any way. Grief has also come as a piece of my new normalcy in this half year removed from graduating. I miss certain things about college, like helping out on production team with my college ministry (as I did as a guest yesterday). I have grieved the girl I had a crush on three years ago, even after knowing she will never return my feelings. (I just miss seeing her beautiful face, her smile and hair.) I miss the campus itself on cool and crisp autumn days. I miss Wintergarden Park in BG, which became my quiet time fortress for myself and God. So, now the grieving process continues. After visiting BG, I now I am definitely going to have to journal about my emotions this week.
Still, I am doing well.