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Season to Invest in Community

A few months ago, I was chatting with a friend after Mass, and she said something that really

resonated with me. We were discussing how both of us were about to go through significant life changes, and she mentioned how she structured her college experience to actively invest in the community she plans to settle in. Her words immediately caught my attention, and after our conversation, I found myself reflecting on them a lot.

At the time, I was nearing the end of my four-year college experience and anticipating moving back home to pursue dairy farming in the same community where I grew up. Amidst the frenzy of the end-of-school-year chaos, I couldn't help but wonder: if my plan was just to return home, why did I choose a school where all my friends are scattered across the Upper Midwest? After graduation, l rarely get to see them. On top of that, I had lost touch with some of my close friends from back home. I felt annoyed with myself because I felt like I had spent the past four years investing in college life and had done virtually nothing to invest in my community back home.

Despite my dramatic feelings, I finished the last two months of college in the same way I had

been spending them—wide open, as my dad would say, and with my whole heart. I didn’t give these thoughts much validity until I officially graduated and returned home for good.

After a few weeks back home, those feelings of guilt from a few months prior started creeping up again. Once more, I found myself wishing I had invested more in my community back home so that the transition would be smoother. I couldn’t help but think, “If only I had joined this, that, or the other thing when I had more free time, it would be easier now that everything feels limited.”

My feelings took a complete 180-degree turn just last week. I spent the weekend at my college roommate’s bachelorette party on Friday night followed by another college friend’s wedding on Saturday. Wow. It was incredible to reconnect with so many people whom I had spent almost every waking minute with for the last four years but hadn’t seen in two months. All my regrets vanished instantly. If I hadn’t poured my heart and soul into investing in my college community, I wouldn’t have had that gut ache from laughing too hard at a remembered inside joke, or rolled my ankle dancing while reliving the Glory Days in B-Town. These people made it all worth it.

My college crew at the wedding last Saturday

While yes, I now have to work a little harder to form a new community at home, I will never

regret how I spent my college years. I built life-giving friendships that will last a lifetime, even if they are primarily over the phone. The personal growth I experienced in school is the very reason I feel capable of returning home and taking over the dairy farm.

The Bible tells us there is truly a time and season for everything. God gives order to our lives to prepare us for changes. He brings people into our lives for a reason so we can share His love with one another and grow as individuals. While my community looks significantly different now post-graduation, I don’t regret how I invested my time because that’s how it was meant to be ordered.

Thank you, God, for blessing me with countless incredible people in my life!

Your sister in Christ, Maggie

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