The summer after college, I worked one last time at the 8-week day camp in Rhode Island which I had come to know and love, and then I went to work as a Nanny. I was used to living and studying at a small college where I had made a lot of really good friends, and suddenly I was thrust into a world that consisted of
- a baby with the worst reflux ever
- a jealously, vindictively, pooping golden retriever, and
- a new town where I knew nobody.
The baby’s parents were the best part of the deal, but they commuted to New York City at 5 a.m. or so, and got home about 13 hours later, by which point they were ready to spend a little time with their son and I was ready to not. And it wasn’t like we usually hung out.
So I joined a Christian young adults’ group in the area, called “Living Circle.”
I’m not exactly sure what the name means, and it took me a while to really feel like I had community there, but that group ended up being my main social outlet for the nearly-two-years that I lived in Southern Connecticut. We met in a school on Monday nights, and would sing and pray together, and then break up into smaller groups and study the Bible, and after that, sometimes some of us would go out to a diner just to talk about whatever.
But it wasn’t just Monday nights. A bunch of us were nannies, so we could never host the parties, but plenty of the other members of the group had their own places, so there were shindigs most weekends. I made a couple of really close friends and we would go shopping or hiking or “restauranting” together.
The group folded/reconfigured the year I left for London, because other people besides me were moving and the needs of the group were changing, but I still look back on those days fondly and I still think there were a couple of exceptional things about that group, besides the individual people. The most exceptional thing, maybe, was the fact that although most of the people in the group identified as Christians, there were a multitude of churches represented, with different traditions and varying theologies all worshiping God and learning–and socialising–together. The group didn’t “belong” to any one church, and meeting in a school and in diners ensured that it remained pretty neutral of denominational or congregational affiliation.
I’m still in touch with some of those friends, and I’m very grateful for all of them during those first two years of launching out of the nest into adulthood. They made that period of time fun, even before the baby grew up enough to stop throwing up all over me and be fun, too. Maybe I’ll write about him soon, too. In the meantime, these were my friends in the mid-90’s.