I dedicate this article to the women of Barrington Christian Fellowship.
I moved to Barrington Mews in 2007. It is a residence for senior citizens and disabled individuals. I am disabled, because of mental illness. The first two years at the Mews were quite lonely. I did not know anyone; I kept to myself. Holidays and birthdays passed me by without celebration. The seclusion of my apartment caused many nights of tears. However, as time passed, I began to open up, greeting the strangers who were my neighbors. I made new friends with some of them. It was a nice feeling, coming out of my shell of depression and loneliness.
Seven years later, I am still at the Mews. This past year, I have been going through some struggles and changes. It was necessary to let go of some friends, those who were not true friends. So, I find myself back to where I began, secluded in my apartment. One day, I went to a function in my building’s community room. The Barrington Christian Fellowship was entertaining some of the residence with a Thanksgiving meal. The pastor who facilitates the fellowship sat down to talk with me. He told me about the fellowship. He asked me if I were a believer. I professed that Jesus Christ was my Lord and Savior. The pastor and I had an intriguing discussion about what it meant to be a Christian, how one should live. He gave an example from his own life. He would go out into the community, showing love and helping others. Pastor invited me to attend the Bible study that the fellowship gave, in the community room of the building. Incredibly, the pastor’s words were encouraging to me.
One Sunday evening, I went down to the community room to attend the Bible study. Pastor was there with about seven other women. Little did I know, these women would change my life. The message for that evening was what I needed to hear. I had been praying for direction. Pastor taught on knowing that perfect will of God. Personalizing it, what would God have me to do with my life to bring glory to His name. After the Bible study, the women had a fellowship. We enjoyed a delicious apple cake with coffee or juice. I felt comfortable enough to reveal the struggles I recently had been experiencing, problems with relationships and friendships. The women exuberantly announced that they had been in the same situation. They encouraged me with their words of wisdom. Older than me, they all were mothers in the Church.
I began to attend Bible study on a regular basis. As always, after each study, the women had fellowship. On every occasion, their pearls of wisdom brought a newly found zeal in my life. One particular member of the fellowship became my spiritual mother. My own mother passed away in 1996. Marion became my confidant. She explained that the only way that she could talk to me on certain topics was because she had gone through the same experiences. She knew that God brought us together for a purpose. Marion is always available to talk, to share my poetry with. She listens fervently with excitement in her voice. She shows much patience, like a true mother who I have been missing.
Now, I am writing my poetry again, pursuing the destiny God has for me. I write to encourage and inspire others like the women of Barrington Christian Fellowship have done for me. I am on my way to completing my third book of inspirational poetry. I have applied to graduate school to continue my education. With great adulation, I am in the interview process of acquiring a teaching position at a university. The women, including Marion, have enabled me to follow my dreams. They have lifted me up. I give back to others out of gratitude and because it is what God would have me to do. We are family; it is our responsibility to keep one another, to uplift one another.