The following blog post is from May Lauren Dirksen, one of the Kairos interns this summer. You can learn more about her here.
When I was younger, I had this idea that "growing up" was like stepping off a ledge onto a giant water slide. For the first 18 years of life, you move along comfortably in what you regard as normal: school, homework, piano practice, and doing things with friends on weekends. When you left for college, I thought that you were leaving this realm of the known to embark on a dizzying, whirl-wind adventure. Like a trip down a giant slide at a water park, I expected rapid change that would be both exhilarating and terrifying.
Now, on the other side of four years as a student at Furman, I can laugh at this worldview. Life isn't like a water slide at all! Instead, I envision an hourglass. Sometimes the sand might flow more rapidly, like when great changes occur, such as moving off to college. Most of the time, though, the change is gradual -- the sand flows slowly but consistently. This summer, as a Kairos intern for Grace Children's Ministry, I have been exposed to language that better describes my image of moving sand. Stages of life would be the term that describes the major segments that compose life; transitions are the incremental changes that lead up to and set the stage for the separate stages of life.
The Kairos internship program at Grace recognizes the transitions that college students undergo as their identities shift from that of children to that of adults. I can't pinpoint exactly where that shift came for me, but sometime during my junior year at Furman I became convicted that God wanted me to be involved in a church in Greenville. Though I had been attending Grace since my freshman year, I did nothing more than show up on Sunday mornings and leave immediately after the service. I wasn't happy doing this -- I wanted to experience community and feel like I belonged here -- but because I viewed myself as a child, I didn't think that I could join Grace as a member. I told myself, "I'm only going to be here for a few years, and I'll still do things with my home church on holidays and summers." I thought my greater obligation was to the church I grew up in, but in reality that I was no longer a part of.
Last summer, with the encouragement of some of the Grace staff, my perspective began to change. I started serving, became a member of the church, and joined a Community Group. Through those processes, I've realized that college is just one stage of many in life. Refusing to serve and participate in community in the church that is feeding me spiritually -- that is simply selfish and immature. Wherever I live, wherever I'm being fed, that is where God has put me, and that is where He will use me.
As I prepare to leave Greenville and head off to graduate school, I'm going to take these lessons with me. I'm transitioning to another stage of my life. In less than 2 years, I'll have my masters in piano pedagogy (a fancy way to say "piano teaching") and will be preparing to set up my own studio of piano students. Through it all, though, God will be sovereign over both the transitions and the changes -- continual and rapid sand flows alike.