When graduation day came, my biggest worry wasn’t figuring out what job I was going to land, but rather how I was going to find a vibrant, engaging community like I had experienced at university.
As a Trinity Western University student, the word “community” becomes engrained in students’ minds from day one and is what facilitates the cementing of life-long friends. It starts with the enthusiastic, over-the-top smiling faces of student leaders who welcome freshmen to O-Day and extends to the cheering and congratulating friends at graduation. For me, community was quickly established in the strong bond in dorms, outreach programs, discipleship groups and worshiping together in chapel.
In the first semester of my third year, my brother, Jordan died in a workplace accident. I was devastated. Very quickly, I was experiencing unprecedented amounts of grace, patience, and love shown to me by the TWU community. I was overwhelmed by the care I received. Not only were my RAD group, dorm, SOS group, discipleship group and friends there to celebrate with me in my successes at the start of my Trinity experience but also willing to share in my grief. It was impossible for me not to feel connected and valued. To this day, I am overwhelmed and thankful for the support extended to me by my community.
At the end of my fourth year, thoughts of leaving my community began to make me feel uneasy. I kept asking myself how was I ever going to reach the level of community as I had at Trinity? Will I ever find a community as close and comfortable as this?
The lessons I learned about community since leaving Trinity have changed my view about community.
Lesson 1: Take a risk.
At Trinity, community was easy to establish because of the multiple events and groups facilitated. However, when surrounded only by loving parents and distant friends, I realized that community would not be established for me, but that I need to go out and search for it. In addition, I had to put myself out there by being vulnerable and moving out of my comfort zone.
Lesson 2: “We” not “I”
Because of my grief in losing my brother, I was dependent on others to help me through my grief. Therefore, the community would surround me often to comfort and support. Now that I am living at home, I have realized that I had become focused on what community can do for me rather than what I can do for the community.
After graduation, I did not expect to find a special community like I had experienced at Trinity. Of course, will never be exactly the same, but to my surprise, I have begun to experience a sense of community with some of my co-workers as I reach out to them in meaningful ways that I learned at Trinity. I’m realizing that God had a specific plan for me to be where I am right now. Working at ATCO Gas is a miracle in itself, but loving the community of people I work with has become an unexpected blessing.