If you give an introvert true community, he’s going to be skeptical.
When he’s skeptical, he’ll be polite but look for a problem.
When he doesn’t find a problem, he’ll actually begin to open up to these people.
When he opens up to these people, friendships will form.
When these friendships are with people who have the same passions, interests, and love of Christ, amazing things can happen.
Ok, so maybe it’s a little bit of a cheesy intro (and if you don’t get the reference, revisit childhood with a quick search for the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie), but it is very true. Last time I was on here – and yes, I realize that was two weeks ago despite my lofty goals – I wrote about how great things were happening as we went and talked with patients on wards, which is still great, but not the subject here. For the time being, I want to talk about a lesson that I’ve been needing in a practical setting for a LONG time now: the importance of community.
So if you know me at all, you know I’m a fairly independent guy. I don’t talk often and am much more likely to sit quietly during a discussion and listen to the different viewpoints than interject my own. I appreciate friends and family, but at the end of the day I go back to my single bedroom apartment and enjoy being alone. This extends to my relationship with God as well. I truly do enjoy spending time with my friends who are believers and the conversations they bring, but when it comes down to it, my prayer life is mine; studying the Bible I prefer to do alone; and the only person that hears about any seriously intense faith issues I’m having is God.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of intellectual knowledge that says that going it alone is not healthy spiritually (or physically, or emotionally), but I’ve never seen that much of a real, practical benefit between time spent with other like-minded believers compared to time alone. And as a strongly introverted individual (side note: I’m always interested in a good discussion on how “introverted” does NOT equal “shy” or “antisocial”), if there’s no difference between time spent with other people or time spent alone, I’m going to choose flying solo a solid majority of the time. Again, not that I don’t like people, but why put forth the extra effort?
I’ll tell you why.
It IS better.
Now, for the extroverts and mature introverts out there reading this, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of, “Well of course! Isn’t that obvious to everyone?” No, no it is not. Don’t ask me why I haven’t learned that lesson until now. It’s surely not for lack of solid friendships or people telling me how important community is; it just never seemed to actually transition from head to heart knowledge – I knew it to be true intellectually, but it wasn’t real experientially. And honestly, I can’t point to any specific thing over these past two and a half weeks that was the catalyst for this realization. I can tell you that I am able to identify more with the people here than any other group in the past; not so surprising considering we’re all Christians who care deeply about our relationship with God, His work on the cross, and His children who are hurting and happen to all be young, future health care professionals. I can tell you that I have never been around a group of people who are so honest, open, and raw with each other, both students and leaders. I can tell you I know more about the other three guys and two leaders in my small group than I know about any other person I know. And maybe that’s a big part of it – the vulnerability and honesty of these now close friends. But it’s more than that. People here are open with each other, yes, but they genuinely care about everyone here, everyone we meet at the hospital. They are passionately pursuing Christ and as an outflow are revealing His incredible love, compassion, encouragement, and wisdom every day. It’s more than I can put into words, but it’s incredible. (Another thing to ask me about when you see me and there’s time to discuss.)
So in the interest of keeping this to blog length and not a short novel, I’ll start wrapping it up. If you were hoping for more tales of my time working in a hospital or the shenanigans happening here at the Preceptorship, sorry to disappoint. This summer is so incredibly jam-packed that I could easily write a longer post than this every day and still not be able to keep up, and since that is nowhere near attainable, all that’s getting relayed here are the major highlights, which for the past two weeks has been me learning about the importance of peers and mentors. I’ll be glad to unload any stories you might want over a nice 5-hour long meal sometime when I get back if you’re just not satisfied with this little snapshot. (Warning: Meal may extend beyond 5 hours depending on story selection and may end with you getting the bill because I “forgot my wallet”.)
As always, I greatly appreciate your prayers and would specifically ask for you to be praying for:
- Energy. These past weeks have been incredible, but we are all feeling pretty physically and mentally stretched with all the amazing-ness that’s been going on here.
- Pre-Pro Week. It stands for Pre-Professionals, and to sum it up, a bunch of undergrad students who are pre-med, nursing, PT, etc. will be arriving Saturday for a week of training similar to what we’ve been going through. It is our job as the actual professional students who have been going through this training to teach them while they are here. So prayers for wisdom for us, an impactful week for them, and the relationships that will develop would be great.
- My personal nerves. While I am pumped to head to Nigeria in just over two weeks (wow that’s close), it’s a little unsettling knowing that I’m going to be leaving this great community here to head by myself to a place I’ve never been where I have no connections and am not entirely sure what I’m even going to be doing while I’m there.
Thanks! And like I said last time:
Yes, it would be helpful if you prayed for me.