The following post is from Jaime Fitzgerald, a rising senior at Carson Newman College, and a a previous Selah Vie participant. This blog is part of a series of reflections on Selah Vie.
I had the privilege of attending Selah Vie, an end of the summer retreat for Congregational Collegiate Interns, Student. Go missionaries, and Passport Camps staffers, in August of 2012 for the first time after working a summer as an intern at my home church in Madison Heights, Va. During my summer I had many wonderful experiences such as preaching, sitting with families during their loved one’s surgeries, and serving our community members in various ways. My time spent as an intern consisted of many priceless moments that will forever be engrained in my soul as I become a minister, but at the end of the summer, I felt as though I needed something more that I had not received. A week after my internship ended, I headed to Alabama where that something more that I was looking for was revealed.
Selah Vie is a midwife because it helped me to birth my narrative from the summer through putting words to my experiences. One of the main themes of Selah Vie this past year was the emphasis that was placed on story. Throughout the week, during corporate worship times, different students were given space to share an experience from the summer where they saw Jesus at work. It was beautiful to see how different and unique each person’s story was.
Selah Vie is a midwife because it allows students to come, bring their stories whether beautiful or ugly, joyful or painful, and work through them to create new life. Through listening to people’s stories and sharing part of mine I truly understood that the conception and pregnancy of our narratives is not always pretty. There are moments when we don’t see beauty because the journey is painful and dark. Selah Vie offered space for new life and new outlooks to be brought into the stories of our hearts.
Selah Vie is a midwife because it brought people together to celebrate and support us as we birthed the narratives of our journeys. Adults from all areas of ministry came together to love us, listen to us, offer insight when needed, laugh with us, and simply spend time with us and be present as we processed through what we had seen and done during the summer. The adults who celebrated our lives and validated our stories helped to make Selah Vie such an awesome week.
After a summer of planning events, working long hours, and constantly pouring myself out to the members of my congregation and community, the midwifery of Selah Vie was a breath of fresh air because for once, all I had to do was follow a schedule that had already been prepared for me. Stories that have been growing inside of us had the ability to be birthed and to be given life because there was fertile soil at Selah Vie and there were gardeners who through listening to our stories were able to offer sunlight and nourishment to the new life that had been birthed in order that it could grow and flourish.
I thank God for the midwife known as Selah Vie for helping to birth new life through our stories into the world.