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This edition of our newsletter was written by Nicole Eanes. Nicole was hired in February as a Development and Administrative Assistant with our work. She’s getting more involved in our ongoing work after a while around the edges. Part of her job includes fundraising and when she meets her first goal, her job will expand to include more responsibility and deeper involvement. You can help make that happen by becoming one of our regular donors or making a one-time donation.
My beginning with Grace & Main is a little messy. For months, I was interested but hesitant. I rarely showed up and when I did it was fairly inconsistent. As I navigated graduating high school, moving to Uganda, and figuring out my faith – the friends I found with G&M were gracious listeners and welcomed my questions and frustrations. They provided a safe space for me to draw circles around the things I believed and taught me to be gracious with the things I didn’t have figured out.
A little back story, I grew up in Danville and my journey has led me to a lot of new places. From east coast beaches to west coast cities all the way to a small mud hut in Northern Uganda. I’ve learned it’s fairly easy for me to pick up and move my entire life. For a while I thought this was a good thing and I think it still has some pros – but I’ve come to realize it’s easy because I struggle with feeling like I belong. It’s not that I have a difficult time making friends; it’s all the stuff after the initial interaction that I find difficult. So, for a while I kept moving around because when you move around the hard stuff doesn’t have time to show up.
You know, all the stuff that comes with time. The loss of friends and family members. The conflict that happens when you’ve just spent too much time around each other. The miscommunication and the anxiety that comes with busy schedules. All the ways life ebbs and flows and all the unexpected ways it knocks us off our feet.
I’ve learned in my short time here that community looks a lot like loving each other into who we’re meant to be. It’s asking the hard questions and being okay when there aren’t any good answers. It’s taking the long way home with Roland, one of the first members of Grace & Main, because the silence shared brings a sense of comfort. It’s road trips with broken air-conditioning and welcoming strangers into your home. It’s homilies and blessings and holding close to our faith that God is good even when that’s really hard to believe.
Being with the crew has made me realize that we have something different going on. We have a lot of good ideas and a lot of good intentions but it doesn’t stop there. We also have really big love and overwhelming amounts of grace. We don’t just think about good things – we empower each other to live good lives. All of this became explicitly tangible with the loss of our dear friend, Bruce. The days leading up to his death were long and emotions were all too real. But the love in the room was palpable. Until his last breath, Bruce was surrounded by the people he loved. We sang hymns and kept him cool with a cold washcloth and laughed as his cat, Boo Boo, laid by his side. In this moment, there was no pressure and no expectations – only the knowledge that life is really hard and also really wonderful and it’s better when we do it together.
Some days, belonging feels certain and some days I still struggle to find my place because of my own insecurities. But as I continue to find my niche with Grace & Main, I’m thankful for the subtle ways everyone makes me feel like I belong. Through the blessings we say together each week, the meals we share, the late night conversations with my roommates, and the countless cups of coffee shared on the front porch.
All in all, I’m really thankful I somehow fell into belonging with these people. I hope you know wherever you are that you, too, are welcome here. There is a place for you in the vast Kingdom of God. There’s room at the table. And if you live near Danville, our table always has a seat for you.
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