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The beginning of November was a high for me socially, but a low mentally. Socially, the entire dynamic of friend groups and cliques at Bryan College shifted considerably, and the people I knew pulled me through a maze of different social circles. I, in turn, stopped hanging out with “friend groups”, and stopped trying as hard to be social with the friends of my friends. Instead, I began to more diligently invest in my friendship with a few people that seemed closest to me.

Ironically, this did not decrease the size of my social circle. In fact, the less I hung around groups of people, the more I was sought out by certain people from those groups who had not spoken much to me in the groups, but who apparently enjoyed my presence and company. As I observed this more and more in the days leading up to Thanksgiving Break, I began to wonder why these people left their groups and normal friend circles to seek me out.

Thanksgiving Break was nice. I had a considerable amount of homework—more than average for one single week. But I completed all of it and extra with relative ease as my family prepared to enter the holiday season, something that excited me immensely.

My world rocked after the break, and some things about my mental health situation improved in a miraculous and ironic way, a classic example of God using a disaster to make a miracle.

As December arrived in the full fury of final exam stress and holiday panic, I rode through the waves, so to speak, rather smoothly. I did not find myself pressed for time, and I spent most of the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas Breaks discovering a very touching and meaningful thing, something that had an immeasurable effect on my view of the people around me.

People began to communicate to me that I had made an impact on their lives or on others. Personally, however, I took this at face value. Circumstances that I had been working through made me believe that these things were being said merely to boost my self image or make me feel better. But then, I heard it from someone who I am certain would not say anything merely for that purpose, and he said it in a very different way then I had heard it before.

He had been impressed over the course of the semester—not by the impact I had made, although that was quite a factor—but by the way I had been willing, able, and even masterful at connecting with so many different types of people on campus. What he expressed was not an admiration of how many people I knew, or who knew me, but a compliment on how well I engaged and connected with the people I did know, and how I strove to be a light and a supportive, uplifting influence to them.

I did not tell anyone about this at first, because I was touched by it because I was fairly certain that it was not something that this man—who I trust and respect greatly—would say lightly. But before I could fully process it, I heard a very similar observation from two other people separately.

During the time that I was processing all of this, a few of the people I had actually grown closer to reiterated the fact that I had meant a lot to them, both in small ways such as my persistently asking how they were doing, and in a few things that had been very big and meaningful to them, even though they did not seem so to me when they took place.

The final thing I observed was something that had happened around the major turmoil following Thanksgiving Break. As I worked through and worked to overcome those things, the people in my dorm—specifically my RD and my own RA, Jack—were a major anchor for me. However, two or three people who did not even know me stood close behind me, supporting me, encouraging me, and helping me move forward.

I sit here at 8:30 at night. I completed my first semester today, and now I am home for Christmas. I am dealing with stress, worry, and even regret over many things. But as all of these things come together in my mind, I realize that I am surrounded by a community that God has crafted just for me, and that He has placed me here to make the impact that I have made, mostly without knowing, and to learn what the love of Christ truly looks like in a community.

But I would say that the greatest of this community are the RAs in my dorm, Woodlee. Despite my efforts to handle things on my own, my fears of being a burden to them with my struggles, and my consistent state of some turmoil or other, they stand beside me. Furthermore, they see through the struggles in a way that no one else has, and support me with a loyalty, compassion, and friendship unlike anything I ever imagined possible among humans. As I wrote in gratitude to my RD, expressing the reaction that I felt in my heart, I thought of something which, although theologically unfounded and merely poetic in form, expresses quite perfectly the way I perceived their kindness and love.

If Angels Walk Among Men,
Then Angels Walk Among
The Men of Woodlee

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