Thursday, March 5

Who is Lauren Woody? Part One, The Early Years

I think that I should start by explaining who I am and in subsequent blogs, I will explain why I am a member of the Cast Away Christian Society. I am the Young Adults Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Young Adults, in our Diocese, are defined as people in their 20's and 30's, but we have some members in their 50's who love to attend our meetings and events. I am a cradle Episcopalian who was very active as a youth in the Diocese of South Carolina and then in the Diocese of North Carolina in high school. I always thought there would be a place for me, a place set out for an active member like me. I always thought that I could walk in to any Episcopal Church, find a pew with my name on it and a little old church lady just waiting to tell me how glad she was that I was there. It would be as if the Holy Spirit had told them I was coming, and they had prepared a space for me. This is what they taught me as an "active" youth. Time and time again, I was told that I was so important and such a "light" in the church.

I had the sweetest church deal when I was in High School. I was a huge fan of those "mountain top" experiences (a term which I now really dislike-which I will explain in a later blog) that you get when you spend a week or even a weekend at an Episcopal Church camp. It was always a place where the class system of your average high school was non-existent. Any nerdy guy or non-cheerleader girl could find a way to fit in with the "cool" kids. It was a release from the pressures of being awkward teenagers, if only for a few days, and I ate it up!! I told you I had a sweet deal, and it was this: I was lucky enough to live in a Diocese, where I got to go to camp every three months for four years. It was a great rotation. I had Happening in September, Winterlight in December, Happening again in March, and Senior Young People's Conference (SYP) in June. It was great. Every time life was getting to be a little too much to handle, I got to go to camp and be rejuvenated again. I am almost certain that it was the only reason I made it out of high school in one piece. I don't think I thought about what would happen when high school ended. I don't think I was ready to grow up.

After I graduated, I went off for my last high school camp experience knowing that I was moving on to college and starting a new life for myself. When I got the call two days before the end of our session letting me know that my grandmother was dying, I was not sure what to do. I was glad that I was in a loving community, but when my mother said "they don't think she will make through today Lauren", I immediately lost all feeling in my body. And she was right, about 5 hours later I was taken out of the programming to be told that my grandmother was gone. She was the last of my grandparents. She was the last person who would ever hug me the way only a grandparent can. She was the last one who would look at me and I would know that I was going to be ok. She was the Holy Spirit incarnate for me. I remember being really angry with my parents, because they had encouraged me to go to camp and told me that her health was getting better when I left. I called my mom and she said that my brother would be there to pick me up in a few hours. I don't remember much after that. I have a vague recollection of attending a outdoor Eucharist before leaving Kanuga, getting tons of hugs and well wishes for my trip, and goodbyes filled with tears on both sides. I can almost define that moment as the day that I grew up.

No comments:

Post a Comment