Over this past weekend I participated in (in)RL through (in)Courage. I went to a local meet-up and everything. Even though I didn’t know anyone there and was at the youngest “stage of life” (in my opinion) it was still fun to see people in person verses on the internet. The theme of the weekend was Community and I LOVED this theme. It brought me back to the following bible verse:
“For wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I, in their midst.”
~ Matthew 18:20 ~
You may be wondering WHY did I think the theme was a great idea? I have a secret. I’ve been learning about the IMPORTANCE of Community since COLLEGE. The first college I attended was run by The Marianists (Society of Mary). One of the things I LOVED about their mission was how important Community was to them. This is what their about section has to say about Community:
People of Community
Marianists believe that living, praying and supporting one another in community enriches their faith and strengthens their ability to meet world challenges – especially problems associated with poverty and ignorance.
I was only at that college for 2 short years but I learned so much from the brothers on that campus. Every Tuesday they opened their home to the students on campus for evening prayer and dinner. In everything that went on at the university they talked about community. Between the classes, the groups, and the retreats. It was really a stepping stone to how I view Community today. I had never seen anyone take Community so seriously.
So when I saw that (in)Courage’s focus was on Community I knew I had a lot of information to contribute. As much as a loner and introvert that I am I really do CRAVE Community. I crave talking, listening, and being with other physical people. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE all my internet communities and wouldn’t give them up for the world but I get really depressed and tired of sitting at home on Friday night..alone..bored..sulking..and feeling sorry for myself while everyone else is out and about with something to do.
So when I saw in one of my InCourage groups about this event and that there would be local meet-ups around the world I ran at the chance to participate. At first the closest one was in Orlando and the leader of one of my facebook groups was hosting it. Then several months later the lovely Karena decided to host a meet-up closer to where I live. I was very happy I didn’t have to drive as far.
I’ll have to admit at first it was kind of scary. I was driving to the house of someone I had only communicated briefly with on Facebook. Her and all the other people on the facebook event page seemed harmless enough. However this isn’t the first time I’ve met someone from a facebook group so I wasn’t that worried.
I don’t have any pictures of the decor or anything from the meetup as I really didn’t think to take photos other than the group photo someone at the event took. We even made it to (in)Courage’s link-up blog post about the event!
In the end it was a really fun afternoon. I don’t get out much and I don’t leave my Catholic Circles that much except for the classes I take at school and work. But socializing in those two places is kept at a bare minimum. And I’m still so new at my job I’m really careful how much I share as I don’t want to freak anyone out (yet). So it really brought me a lot of perspective to hear from other Christian women. We may not go to the same church but we all love and honor the same Jesus.
One of the great things about this event is that (in)Courage did all the work for us! All we had to do was show up. We didn’t have to think about what to talk about amongst the topic of Community. They created WONDERFUL videos on the topics for us to watch. I forgot to mention this earlier but it was really a 2 day event. Friday night everyone sat at home, watched, and tweeted about what they saw. I didn’t see everything as everyone in my house was home while I watched and I had a few interruptions, but what I saw was wonderful. The heartache and joy some of the speakers talked about I could really relate to. And at the same time I am thankful I have never been that hurt by any Christian/Catholic groups I have belonged to over the years.
On Saturday when we met up (in)RL there were several more videos for us to watch. One was about the program Hello Mornings. Which uh is NOT for me. If you are a morning person you should definetely check it out. I’m lucky I get up on time let alone getting up 1-2 hours before I have to. The concept is nice but right now I’ll pass on it. Maybe they will create a Hello Moon program and then I can join. But the second video we watched was about Mentoring. At first I was really confused how Mentoring and Community went hand in hand. But after watching the entire video it made a lot more sense. We all need mentors and we all need mentees. While watching I tried to think of a mentor (besides my mom) and I really couldn’t think of 1 person but I think there have been many people throughout my life that have been mentors to me even if I didn’t realize it back then. Especially in my college years. I had a lot of professors, priests, religious, adults, etc. come in and out of my life during my 5 years of college that have helped me along the way. I may not have been able to see it then but now and in years down the road I think I’ll be able to understand it more. I also think of all the people I communicate with online. There are soo many inspiring people I talk with especially in #CathSorority. I’d like to think that I can look to some of them as mentors and that I return the favor to some of my younger members as a mentor. Even if it’s not a serious mentor-mentee relationship that we saw in the video. I think some of the best mentoring relationships are our of coincidence.
One thing that this section made me think about was about being true and genuine to everyone you meet. You may teach a class in 2013 and barely get through to the students in your class and 20 years later they may contact you or see you in the grocery store and thank you for the class you taught and how it changed their life.
I really enjoyed this program that (In)Courage created. Many of the speakers will be speaking at Allume in October and I’m even more excited for October. The inRL program was a wonderful way to meet new people I never would have met otherwise and I hope that we stay in touch and meet-up again in the nearby future. I’m already looking forward to next year when we get to do it all over again! If you want to find out more about the program visit (in)Courage’s website.