As I start another school year at UCLA, I find that I am in a different place than last year. I am definitely in a different building where I am living and I am with many different people. However, it is my difference in my relationships where I see the most profound change.
I have lived so much of my life guarded; guarded due to pain caused by family, friends and neglect. Now I begin to see the pieces of myself, many of them broken, but slowly beginning to heal.
This summer I was able to have the best of both worlds. I was able to be with InterVarsity community while still having work and family to be with at home. It was a time to share with friends what it means to begin healing as well as reflect as to how good God has been to me. I remember walking into the summer rebellious, I didn't want to be home. Slowly, I began to realize how big of a blessing it was to be home; to eat home cooked food everyday and have my mom greet me at the end of a long day of work.
It was as my mom and I were driving back home that God tapped me on the shoulder and showed me something. In my mind were the pieces of myself that had been submerged underwater my entire life; the pieces that wanted to be loved deeply, those that did not trust men, and those that sought acceptance. I saw these pieces raised up out of the water, no longer submerged, but very much above the surface. My soul could relax and breathe.
Seeing these things made me wonder where this change had come from. I thought that I had made progress, sure; but I hadn't noticed just how much. Soon, I noticed that I was eager to see my male friends (whereas a year ago I would have avoided them like the plague). I wanted to share how God had done a work in me, and I wanted to share the love I have for them. I grew frustrated when I learned I had to wait another couple days, which surprised me further.
I began to realize that last year was the year that the men of BCF had shown me the greatest amount of love I'd received in my entire life. I had men pouring love into me, breaking down my insecurities, bitterness and anxiety as I interacted with them (late night talks, countless hugs, support, and community dinners). The love I received during the year left me equipped to love them fully in return, and I can say that they are some of my best friends.
You can't give what you don't have. I didn't have trust or love for the male gender, but since they poured out their love to me first, I don't really have a choice. I received, and now I shall retaliate by loving them right back.