My first visit to St. Paul’s was May 26th, 2013, according to my calendar. I can put myself back in the shoes of 2013 Lauren pretty easily—my quarter-life crisis was in full swing, and I was walking away from a graduate program and career that seemed so out of step with who I was. I happened to run into Daniel Brinson at Shenandoah Joe (fortunately we both needed a caffeine boost!), and we got to chatting. He told me there were a few upcoming weeks when choir numbers were low, and he asked if I might like to fill in– that was the first outstretched hand.
I took him up on his offer and discovered that an acquaintance of mine, Caitlin Morris, was a choir member. She suggested grabbing dinner after rehearsal– and that was outstretched hand number two. She also took me to Ladies Night Out, where I met Ra, who invited me to try her yoga class– number three. Gradually, there were all these other hands, reaching out in laughter and prayer and comfort during a complicated time in my life. Then the hands were taking, because it turned out that I had things to contribute in return. I stopped thinking of myself as walking away from something as those hands guided me toward a place and a community where I don’t feel out of step. Thank you, St. Paul’s family, for making me feel valued and loved every day.
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