Finding Connectedness in Community
Written by Julia Breidenbach
As a servant leader, I have been truly blessed with the opportunity to meet with students interested in Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM). The conversations I have had with these folks have been truly enriching. My understanding of the world has grown upon hearing their stories, their challenges, their passions and what they want in a faith community.
Recently, I was able to talk with a fellow out-of-state student about the challenges facing us ‘transplants.’ It reminded me a lot of how I felt coming to the U last fall. A bumpkin kid from small-town North Dakota, I did not know anyone at the university. As an introvert, Welcome Week was hellish, and during the next few weeks on campus I felt drowned in the crowd of maroon and gold. For the first time in my life, I could go days without having a conversation with anyone. The idea of needing to try to make friends was pretty foreign to me; getting to know people was so much easier in my hometown.
I was able to meet people eventually, but it took effort. Going to different clubs and talking to strangers was not fun, and often I was left feeling like something was wrong with me. Why else was I not finding people I was really clicking with?
I soon realized that this feeling is not at all uncommon on campus. In several spaces, I was able to talk with other students about our communal feelings of isolation, wanting to connect and not really knowing how. It still amazes me that, although we are the most connected generation, we seem to be the loneliest.
When I came across LCM, I felt renewed by the sense of connectedness going to pause, our weekly worship, brings. The folks that attended pause remembered my name and they sat with me. They didn’t make me feel like an uncomfortable spectacle for being alone, like I had felt in many other spaces. Doing service projects with LCM specifically made me feel like I was needed and that I belonged to something important.
Meeting people who are interested in LCM and listening to their unique wisdom again reminds me that I need to continue to branch out (despite no longer feeling isolated). Pastor Kate’s first sermon stressed the importance of learning from one another as well as celebrating and supporting each other. I whole-heartedly agree. Perhaps this fall you are feeling isolated and need a listening ear and a place to pray. Perhaps you have questions about your faith, or are simply looking for a place to sing and smile and celebrate God. For any reason you’re curious about the community I love, I invite you with open arms.