Rebecca’s story of growing up at Lynnewood
“Of course you can quit,” Pastor Paul told me, “you don’t need to feel bad. People do it all the time.” We were discussing a summer job offer I had received after already starting somewhere else. As someone who always scores sky-high on conscientiousness, I was agonizing over this decision. Sure, my current retail job was miserable and the new position would mean more money and less stress, but quitting would force me to do two things I absolutely hated: let someone down AND have an uncomfortable conversation. I had been hemming and hawing over this choice for more than a week, but our quick chat finally gave me the courage to leave. Pastor Paul had always felt like something of a surrogate grandfather to me, and if even he said quitting was okay, it had to be.
This was nothing more than an offhand conversation, but like so many other experiences I had at Lynnewood, it had a profound impact on my life. The new job was infinitely better and I returned to work there every summer throughout college, eventually earning enough to pay for my graduate degree. Even more important, it taught me that it was okay to take risks, okay to face uncomfortable situations, and okay to sometimes look out for myself.
Lynnewood was the one place outside of my immediate family where I always felt okay being exactly who I was. The mentors and friends I had at Lynnewood gave me an enormous amount of confidence that allowed me to do things I wouldn’t have tried otherwise. I could engage in heated arguments about theology and politics in sunday school or perform a Britney Spears song at the church retreat talent show (complete with original choreography) and still know that everyone would like me. Especially during my adolescent years when life felt like nothing but a series of confusing embarrassments, having a supportive community that loved, accepted, and even admired me was incredibly important.
Unfortunately, I now live on the other side of the country, so I can no longer attend regularly, but I will always be incredibly grateful for the many ways that Lynnewood shaped the person I am today. Growing up at Lynnewood was truly a gift. I hope that many generations to come will have the same gift I did.