There was a long wandering after college. The community I had grown to love had suddenly been scattered all over. Each person searching for a new place to call home and a new path to make their dreams happen. Many went back to their parents, some started over in new cities, and I stayed in my little college town.
Each of our transitions were met with unique challenges but there was one common factor that came up repeatedly in conversation. We all longed for the familiarity of our college community. We longed for those friends that were always down the hall waiting to get dinner with us or head to the library. We longed for late nights and ice cream runs with the ones we came to call family.
The question lingers, will we ever find that type of community again? New beginnings are always challenging. I think this is particularly true after college, and there may never be anything quite like that community, but all hope is not lost. In the midst of this transition we are called to step out of our comfort zone and take a leap of faith.
It turns out, in the real world, building or finding a community requires more effort and intentionality. I have found this to be true even though I’m in the same town that I attended college. Everything is different – different people, different relationships, different expectations, and a different me.
I quickly found myself newly married and pregnant. Not only were my friends far away, but I knew of no other recently married or pregnant women that I could relate to. I spent my pregnancy isolated in my quiet loft apartment wondering if I’d be able to call this town home again.
As I experienced the birth of Cooper and the joy that came with new life I, myself, felt reborn. I knew it was time to reach out and search for a new community. This desire is what led me straight to the doors of the Catholic Church. This is what renewed my faith and brought me into the arms of a place I could easily call home.
After walking through those doors the hard work truly began. I found that I had to actually reach out to people. Nothing came naturally. I felt awkward and lost in my attempt of forming meaningful friendships, but beginnings are hard.
The church has countless opportunities for getting involved but it takes courage to sign your name on the volunteer sheet or ask a group of women if you can join their bible study. It takes courage to reach out to peers and ask to get coffee. There is nothing comfortable about putting yourself out there and risking rejection or failure. There is, however, so much to be gained by doing so..
Taking the risk to join a community is important. It’s something we all desire. It’s something that’s easy to push to the back burner because it’s difficult and uncomfortable. Isolation is a choice we make when we refuse to do the hard work and put ourselves out there.
Go out and meet people who share your faith. Meet people who will challenge and encourage you. Volunteer and serve. Step outside the confines of your home and into the hearts of others.
We were not made for isolation, we were made for community. Where have you found community post college?