WHAT IS THE “BEHIND THE SCENES” LINK UP?
Social media and online relationships can make us feel like everyone else has it all together. We’re edited, proof-read, Pinterest-perfect versions of ourselves (or so some might think!) when – in reality? There is an unfinished pile of laundry around the corner. That cute toddler smiling for the camera just had a massive meltdown seconds ago. That yummy breakfast-for-dinner you just showed us on Instagram? It’s because the cat licked the chicken that was supposed to be for dinner.
“Behind the Scenes” is a fun link up where we show those photos – but tell the real story behind them. The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it. Read more here!
These photos were all taken during my senior year at Villanova. Not my last year, as I would stay to finish my Masters, but the end of college as I knew it. And college as I knew it included a retreat called “Search” that shaped my faith, my friendships, my community – while also giving me my first ever experience of not being chosen to do something I wanted to do.
I wanted to lead that retreat so badly, and I was never chosen. I applied again and again, rethinking and revising my explanation of what it meant to “live the 4th,” going on super top secret “bandits” missions with other former retreat-goers. Attending the prayer meetings to pray over every single one of the new attendees. I loved it. But I was never chosen to lead. It was in this retreat community that my heart was broken by community, and where I learned what it was like to say goodbye, not to a dream of leading a retreat, but to a friend who lost his battle to cancer – a friend loved by the “Search” community.
College as I knew it also included some interesting friends who loved to have a good time as much as they loved Jesus. And could hold their own in a rap contest with Vanilla Ice. It included trips into the city on freezing cold mornings to watch the Wing Bowl. Because really, what says college and community like hanging out with several thousand people watching a wing eating contest at 8 a.m.?
As I flipped back through thousands of photos, just from that one year at college, part of me missed it. That community of friends, bonding over fun and laughter. The photos of my first missions trip to another country, the gospel choir tour to Germany and Austria, the friends whose faces look familiar and whose names escape me now. I don’t know if it seemed simple at the time, but it does now. When my biggest worry wasn’t whether my daughter would sleep all night, but what to wear when I went out at 10 p.m. (side note: how in the world did I do that?!).
As perfect as the images in the photo might seem, they aren’t the whole story. As much as I love Villanova and can’t wait to take Madi there for a basketball game, it’s not a reality I would trade for what I have now. But I also wouldn’t trade those experiences, no matter how hard or fun or life changing, because looking back at them now? I can see how God used them to shape my story. I see how He moved, drawing me to where I am now. With this family, in this town, at this time.
If you’d like to catch up on the rest of my 31 Days of Community posts, you can view them here: