In life, I’ve had few challenges finding like-minded people with which to surround myself. (It helps that my parents are pretty devout Christians and we’ve been going to church for as long as I can remember). I’ve never had trouble finding and befriending other Christians. I have found a church home at the Harvard Ichthus, and, more slowly, in the student community at Memorial Church. In boarding school, I found Christian friends and support at the Sunday student services and the Andover Christian Fellowship, and though many of us have graduated and gone our separate ways, I still maintain close relationships with a few of them. It’s never been a big issue for me, and I am blessed with a modest spiritual support network.
However, though I am blessed with a rather large “family,” I am always awed by the additions to it, and how God introduces those people into my life. I’m slow, so I usually don’t see God’s hand at work until much, much after the fact, but He never ceases to blow me away with His timing. I am always so grateful once I realize the purpose that God had in mind, because the people that He brings into my life always carry something with them that taught me something or supported me at just the right time.
So, meet McKenzie. She’s my supervisor for my political internship, and she just might be one of the coolest Christian women I’ve met so far. She’s the first person that I’ve connected with in a work environment, and I’m so convinced that God brought her into my life for a reason. I see her two days a week for work, and we’ll have in-depth theological conversations while we’re working in the office. An op-ed column will inspire a political discussion, but these pretty superficial chats always transition into something much deeper. For instance, a discussion of Rand Paul’s beliefs about immigration and discrimination transitioned into a surprisingly deep conversation about what the Bible says about discrimination.
All these things considered, I usually don’t reveal any of my personal inclinations (political or religious) at work, and I almost never think it’s professional or appropriate to impart those things. But as we were waiting to go into a meeting, I found myself talking with McKenzie about my religious history and beliefs. What shocked me most about the discussion was that I saw a lot of myself in her; I think God was really speaking through her when she explained how she addressed a lot of the challenges she experienced to her faith and beliefs. She’s fairly young, and not too far removed from where I stand now, and it was so helpful to have her perspective on how she navigated the obstacles in her own journey.
What I have found in common with her is a mutual struggle—namely, that of blind faith. She talked about how easy it was to slip into the act of going through a service without knowing the meaning behind the method, scripture, hymn, prayer, whatever. She said that she always thought of herself as a good Christian (and she definitely was and is), but it always bugged her that her confirmation consisted of more church knowledge than it did of scriptural knowledge. I’ve never had someone pinpoint a major problem of mine so quickly or so eloquently; it was one of those few moments in life where I was convinced that God was speaking directly to me.
I didn’t go to work that morning thinking that I would come back with a different perspective on my faith. Sure, I expected to become more knowledgeable about county politics—I learned a lot about the responsibilities of a board of health and a county judge-executive—but I was not expecting the kind of conversation and relationship that I have begun to develop with McKenzie. I drove home that day even more convinced that God puts people in our lives a reason, and I don’t think that I could have been more amazed by His wisdom and timing than I was when I left the renovated church that houses McKenzie’s office.