As the time for my London experience drew closer, I naturally began to set certain expectations for myself. I set specific goals for the grades in the two classes I was to take and more general goals for the amount I’d grow throughout my internship. While these were definitely important, I was much more concerned with less obvious expectations. I have a wonderful community of friends in Knoxville, and I really wanted to transfer that same feeling into my GLS peers. Like I imagined, we have begun to grow extremely close, and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know everyone as people, not just people I take classes with.
While my American community has been everything I thought it would be, I’ve been incredibly happy to find what I desired in ways far from GLS. As I mentioned in a previous post, a few of us have been worshiping at Reality London, a church plant near our flats. At first, even though the people were wonderful, I didn’t look for a group of friends in the most obvious breeding ground for legitimate community. I had a somewhat apathetic attitude centered on the fact that I’d be leaving in a few short months. Despite my initial thoughts, others had different plans for my time here. In short, I now have several real friends from all sorts of backgrounds. What is our common bond? It is simply the fact that we all are interested in growing closer to Jesus.
Earlier today, I had another glimpse of community that came in easily the most unexpected way possible. As I walked onto the Rugby pitches at Regents park with Andy, Colin, and Nate, we noticed that Aaron was coaching a group of guys at something. My initial thought was “What the heck is Aaron Brink doing coaching 12 British guys at a British sport?” After getting closer, we realized this was the beginning of an American Football team in London. I wouldn’t call myself a football expert by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a blast teaching Londoners the fundamentals of a game that I love so much. After about two hours, they asked us to continue helping them and start regularly coming to their practices.
After experiences like these, I have to constantly tell myself that my life over the past seven weeks is far from normal. I’m embracing the unexpected because it’s far better than anything I could have drawn up on my own. At this point, I’m throwing expectations out the window. The only thing I know is that anything that comes my way will be brilliant.