In previous weeks, I have mentioned being part of Christian organizations on my college campus. These are important to me, as they breed community, where people actually want to get to know you outside of the 1 hour meeting each week. For example, the org I’m currently in does dinner before and chatting for over an hour after our weekly talk.
However, I also mentioned feeling like an outsider and finding a lot of fake friends in an old org. Even in the current one, where I feel so welcome, I still struggle with feeling like an outsider. These people have been this one denomination of Christian their whole life, and they were raised in devout families. My family never went to church and I didn’t even believe in God until 4 years ago…
I just don’t know how these things work. I don’t know how to pray or sometimes even how to talk to these people. I love them, but even when we are open about our shortcomings and faith, I still feel like I’m so much worse at all of this than them.
But that’s okay. It’s okay that I don’t “feel the Lord’s presence” all the time. It’s okay that I don’t know how to pray. I’m growing and I’m finding my own way to experience not just God, but spirituality as a whole.
I will never forgot the first time I truly felt “there is something greater than this.” It was about 5-6 months after I first started to believe in a god. I was at the summer camp I went to from the ages of 14-16, but now I was 18 and a counselor. I will talk about this camp more in a couple weeks. It was during training week, so it was just counselors. Most of us were 18-20, and many of us had been friends as campers. Towards the end of the week, we were all gathered around a fire on “Main Campus.” It was night and the stars were beautiful, as one would expect up north. I was talking with friends and the 20-year-old red-head I was mildly obsessed with was playing guitar. We occasionally sang along with him. That night I was so overcome with this sense of peace and wonder. I can not describe it, but I was just so content in that moment. There was something there beyond us teenagers.
The second time was just a few months later during my first week at college. I was at a Cloud Cult concert. If you have never listened to Cloud Cult, do it. Now. Listen to their album “Light Chasers.” This album is basically entirely about the search for the meaning of life, and this is the album for which they were touring at the time. Before I found a higher power with nature, music, and friends. Now, I found it standing in a dark club with bass pounding into my chest as I listened to what is still some of the most beautiful music I know. I had new friends standing around me, but in this moment I was alone, just me and the band.
Sometimes I feel a surge of spirituality while singing a hymn or worship song, but in general I rarely feel anything in church or Bible study or while praying. I feel it in these sudden moments where I am truly living and feeling.
I do not seek out these moments enough.