The best compliment I have received
Before I actually started to attend this school, I came for a fly-down last year and had a minor panic attack. I was really worried that who I am would change, and that I would have to become some sort of chameleon and look at life differently. I would walk and talk and act differently, I would hide parts of myself and show other sides in an effort to fit in. These were all of my fears. Thankfully I was reassured that I would remain me by The Power that Be, but that reassurance slips out of my memory from time to time.
Every so often throughout the year I would over-analyse every interaction that I had with another person and wonder if I had denied my true self for the sake of not rocking the boat. Or if I had swallowed a comment because it would become immediately controversial. All the while, I realized that I was judging my friends' because I thought that they would immediately judge me. Instead of just being myself I would assume that they would isolate me from the group based on the lifestyle that I lead and so I kept it private (a secret). I worried that parts of my personality may have seemed incongruous to my friends, and if I could just tell them, "I am a Christian" without them fearing that I would take them down to Lake Ontario and force them into a baptism, believe me I would have done so. But, for some reason, I kept it fairly hidden, my faith. Of course, since my life is one of devotion (although this entry does not seem that way) my strange Christian ways would leak out in conversation, but the largest part of the puzzle was always missing. It never really came up in conversation, and I didn't want to throw it out there just for the sake of proselytizing. I have never been that type of evangelistic person, I prefer to live out my witness and sit in the bush until a question is asked. I always wait for the invitation, and once it's there I will take the opportunity. And instead of contriving those situations, I pray for them and that way it's not me who brought it up, it's a response to a question the other has asked.
It is nearing the end of my time here and because of that I am saying goodbye to a few friends. It is not an easy time because I am looking for windows of opportunity with each of them in the hopes of sharing my faith. And God has been God, I had one friend, the one I least expected to ever be interested in Christianity, lean over to me and say, "I need to read the Bible". I immediately got my hands on one for her and left it on her desk as a gift.
When it rains, it pours. While at a dear friend's house the other night, in her kitchen with her roommate and her roommate's boyfriend, she point-blank asked me, "so, what do you believe?" to which I replied, and must be honest that this is the first time that I have ever been so bold as to lay my cards completely on the table, "I believe that Jesus came to earth to die on the cross to rescue me from hell." She asked me a few other semi-related questions, and what denomination I attend, and I was as honest as my nerves allowed me to be.
It was the first time in my 16 years of being a Christian that I was ever asked directly, what do you believe. It was strangely exciting. I wasn't forcing any of this, it all came about through casual conversation, and I had no discomfort sharing what was asked of me. And of course, after sharing all of this, my brain began to scrutinize every moment that I had spent with these people, did my actions align with the statement I just made? Was I a good witness for the gospel? Did I judge them, or make them feel judged by any of my actions? Did I show love in every possible circumstance?
These questions lingered in my head while she and I sat down for a last conversation. She is off to England soon, and I will return to the prairies. I shared with her my concerns of remaining me amidst all of the change that occurs while moving, switching occupations and being away from family, friends and other supports. She replied and said, "you have remained consistent from September until now." And all I could think was, Praise the Lord.