April 16, 2014
This week I received an email inviting me to attend Senior Night at BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries). I was told that I would have the opportunity, along with my fellow graduates, to share my favorite memory at BCM. I was immediately paralyzed with indecision. How in the world would I select one memory from the previous four years in this ministry that has served as my home throughout my entire college career? My mind immediately started playing a series of flashbacks to the major events I’ve been involved in at the BCM. It replayed four years of biking to Jacksonville, FL with Ride for Christ – the year I pulled an all-nighter filming a ninja video in the hotel, the year I co-coordinated the trip, the year I photographed, and finally, the year my roommate and I became the first girls to pedal all the way to the 300-mile line. Definitely one of my most- and least- favorite memories.
It shifted to 3 years of Dinner Theatre – the year I sat on the step, the year I discovered the true DT family, and the year I choreographed for the most moving production of Tarzan non-Broadway has every seen.
This led my mind to years of BCM Dance Team – hours and hour of collecting every particle of dirt from the BCM floor on our bare feet. Of enjoying the enormous spotlight and sold out crowds at the Classic Center for Restoration and to finally taking the steps to put on our own, more intimate, fundraising show in our chapel.
The stage reminds me of the joy that comes when getting the opportunity to help lead worship on Tuesday nights – stepping back from the mic at times to simply observe hundreds of students worshipping Christ in unison and then joining them to soak up wisdom from our campus ministers as they spoke faithfully each week.
Of course, the BCM experience was greatly enhanced by the opportunity to serve on leadership. The personal growth and humility that comes from leading a Dawg Pack of freshman girls, learning what it means to engage in intentional discipleship. The joy that comes through leading missions and seeing students step forward in faith to fulfill their own missions. Missions. What attracted me to the BCM in the first place. And I did not leave disappointed. Through the opportunities provided me by BCM, my life was changed by time spent in New Orleans, New Mexico, Haiti, Benin. All at minimal cost to me. And the greatest and most challenging opportunity of all- planning and leading our first trip to Savannah- where God changed lives in spite of me.
Then there’s the less “defining” but constant source of fellowship and fun – throwing buckets of paint on perfect strangers and best friends alike at the infamous Neon Nite. Throwing down to the best of the 90s and the latest hits at the expansive spectrum of BCM dances. Risking lives for the sake of winning any and every competitive scavenger hunt and team building game. Endless visits to Goodwill for the perfect outfits for the unending costume parties and Tacky sweater contests. Losing our voices and putting Gameday dresses at the mercy of red acrylic pain every Saturday between the hedges as we uphold the UGA Paint Line tradition. Go Dawgs.
Then again, maybe the most memorable moments aren’t my favorite moments at all. Maybe they were the “quiet” moments in-between. The hours spent “studying” in the coffee room, which almost always led to skipping class to hang out or enjoy the sunshine. The time spent on Franklin’s couch talking his ear off about the highs and lows of love and heartbreak. The time spent in Nathan’s office listening to him talk you ear off about the latest ideas and funny stories. The crucial moments spent in discussion circles with Dawg Packs and Family Groups, sharing testimonies and hearts and prayers. The ongoing antics and pranks that take place in the parking lot and even the countless tears shed on the couch in the girls’ restroom. The pizza deliveries for the weekly meetings and the ambulance calls for the inevitable misadventures of the accident-prone (we had quite a few of these). The food. Oh yes, the food.
These are the moments that are often overlooked but have made this place a home for so many – the moments that have provided a community that would eventually become a slightly dysfunctional, but always loving family.
But even these moments would be meaningless in retrospect if not for the foundation that was laid beneath it all. A foundation of Jesus Christ and learning how to follow Him throughout this weird time in our lives- a time when many turn away. A foundation of support and encouragement, where people know your name and your history and they love you all the more for it. BCM is a place where success is celebrated and tragedy is mourned alongside you. Where you are empowered and taught how to disciple and how to lead. Where you learn that community is not found- it is created. A foundation that has made me a better person, a stronger person, ready to take the next step and create this same home elsewhere. Every memory is my favorite memory because it wouldn’t be BCM without any of them. So thank you, UGA BCM, for being my home away from home and investing so much into me. I will always cherish the time I have spent within these walls and the family I have here will always have a place in my heart. [In case you’re curious- I obviously did not share this with my 30 seconds on stage. Instead, I chose to tell the story of when I knocked Maggie McMichael off her bike in the middle of the night during my 3rd year of RFC…and then immediately afterward laid my head in a mound of fire ants on the side of the highway..causing me to say words that I cannot write here, but ultimately giving me enough adrenaline to keep biking through the night)