On October 15, Eunice Lehmacher joined us for our weekly Wednesday night meal. As we finished up dinner, she began a discussion related to coping with stress, anxiety, and depression during the pandemic. From her years of experience in mental health counseling, Eunice shared with us three concepts that are helpful when approaching mental health: antennas, warning lights, and superpowers!
Right now, many of us have our “antennas” fully extended, and we seem to pick up on everyone else’s stress and emotions. Eunice reminded us that it’s an important part of self-care to retract our antennas and focus on our own feelings. During times where we may be dealing with negative emotions or qualities, it can be hard to see the positive parts of ourselves revealed in weakness. But the truth is that we all have superpowers! For example, someone who struggles with perfectionism could choose to view this as being gifted with attention to detail. Finally, we talked about how our bodies are a lot like cars. Before we break down, we have plenty of warning lights; we just have to learn to recognize and address them.
Everyone in the group had an experience to share or a contribution to make to the discussion. College students often struggle with their mental health, so discussions like these are helpful in keeping our spirits up through difficult circumstances.
One of the things we’ve struggled with this semester is falling into a sustainable rhythm. Yes, we have our usually Wednesday dinners and Sunday night worship opportunities. But it’s been difficult to find time for other activities. In the month of November, though, we wanted to focus on some service opportunities.
We put together a list of congregation members to which the students could write some letters. A few students and I took a Saturday afternoon to do some trash pick-up in Abernathy Park nearby. And this past Wednesday we celebrated Thanksgiving together with a turkey dinner and a project (pictured above) to help with families and children at Thornwell, a local non-profit Learn more about Thornwell here.
It’s been nice to break up our normal routines by doing something good for the world around us. After all, much of the spirit of gratitude that surrounds Thanksgiving is accompanied by a spirit of generosity as well. It’s humbling to see how generous these young adults can be.
Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) is one of LCM’s favorite organizations in the greater Church. It is a program in which young adults are given the opportunity to spend about a year abroad, living with and serving a community somewhere far away. It is a bit of a legacy, here, that many LCM-Clemson alumni in the past have gone on to serve with YAGM when they graduate.
On a recent Sunday, we were joined by Olivia Slagle on Zoom. She offered a devotion during one of our outdoor worship services, and told us a bit about her time in Palestine a year ago. She has been telling her stories around the Southeast and East Coast (virtually) as a short-term recruiter for YAGM these past few months. A group of students huddled around a dark fire pit (unfortunately it was too windy to keep lit…), and heard what she had to say about finding a home in this place in which she was a stranger. She was a stranger, who was welcomed as if she were someone familiar. She was taken in by people who treated her like family. That seems to be the beauty of YAGM - finding out that real relationships and love are universal, and that they make a big difference in this world.
The application for the YAGM program for 2021-22 is now open. And applications are due January 15. You can find the application and more information here.
Most weeks, our Wednesday nights were focused on eating our meal and enjoying being together. To be extra cautious, we haven’t had many Wednesday night activities and programs. But in the spirit of spooky season, we all painted pumpkins before Halloween!
While each of us were able to take a pumpkin home, there were plenty of extras, and a few were painted and given to congregation members. As the semester wears on, it was nice to take a break and do something creative with friends.