To you, with love

By Amanda Popovski

Opinion Contributor

I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now.

I’m sure you’ve seen people with waffle-fry-shaped crosses hanging around their necks, over sweaters and under hoodies, perhaps more so than usual as of late. Kairos 58 just wrapped up this past Sunday, and I was lucky enough to be a part of it.

As you may also know, the details of Kairos are meant to be a secret, and I intend to keep it that way; the information I’m sharing here about the retreat itself can be found with a simple Google search. The actual purpose of this article is to share something different: how Kairos opened my eyes to the world. It’s about how Kairos changed my life.

Before arriving to Cradle Beach on Friday evening, I had been feeling, for many months now, a crippling sense of loneliness. Well, maybe not crippling. I could still function, smile and laugh genuinely with my friends, spend time with my family, but I felt like nobody understood me; nobody really understood me. I know, normal adolescent feelings, normal college feelings, normal “I’m-still-finding-my-identity” feelings, but still, this was impeding on my self-confidence and the way I thought about myself and others when I was alone (a frequent occurrence by my nature).

Perhaps most importantly, I kept thinking that no, I didn’t believe in God, but “atheist” didn’t seem to define me either. I believed in this thing connecting everybody, but I had no idea what it was or how to access it.

I got there, and I witnessed a sunset so beautiful, and a lake so still, and a beach so isolated that it brought tears to my eyes. This, however, is not shocking; I melt into a puddle of tears at the slightest happy or sad moment.

I got there, and I ate some of the best tater tots of my entire life. I had the worst sleep ever, but that’s okay. I used my socks as shower shoes and they smelled like rotten garbage, but that’s okay. I forgot to give Nick the towel he didn’t bring, but that’s okay.

I got there, and it took about forty-five minutes for me to feel the stress of my work, and my homework, and my clubs and my commitments and my family life work their way out of my system through the form of laughter and awe.

When you go on Kairos, you feel it.

I knew that, but I didn’t know when I would feel it, or how strongly. A candle was lit, and I was sitting at a table with five strangers, and I felt it right away. We opened up to each other. We created love out of thin air.

When you go on Kairos, you meet them, the people you saw in the library all the time but never talked to, the people you stood behind at Tim Horton’s or parked next to in the ramp. I knew that, but I didn’t know when I would meet them, or if they’d even like me, or if they’d understand me.

And then I met Kate.

And Marshelle.

And Eli and Bryan, and another Amanda.

And I met Nick (I really, truly met Nick), and Dave (really, truly). Grace. Katie. Sarah. Rich. Tom. Another Grace, and another two Graces, and Rose, and Laura (the real Laura) and Franki (no, Francesca) and Gionna and Bridget and Sarah and Rebecca and Patty and Bryanna and Julie with the amazing voice and Austin with the shy smile and everybody, and we were all crying and handing each other tissues, and we were all laughing at stupid jokes and little memories, and we were all talking about brilliant things and our deepest pains, without our phones, without our makeup (well, without a lot of makeup), without time breathing down our neck and it was gorgeous and perfect and raw, and I realized there’s a name for that thing, you know, the thing that connects us all?

It’s love.

After I got back from Kairos, I went to dinner with my family, and I sobbed when I saw them, and the waitress there showed me love with another basket of fries.

I rode in the car with my brother and played him a song and told him how I felt, and he showed me love with his “I forgive you.”

I sat down with my soon-to-be professor and talked to her about graphic novels and Shakespeare, and she showed me love with a hug.

I looked into the eyes of the baby girl I nanny, so blue and deep and beautiful, and she showed me love with her toothless smile, and I cried like I was ten months old, too.

My friend saved me some breakfast food, and even though it was cold it was delicious. My friend asked me how I was, really, how was I doing?, and even though I was running late I told him.

My potential friend is reading this now, and I’m not sure where you are or what you’re doing, but know that I love you.

Yes, you.

It’s love.

 

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Comments

  1. You, my dear woman child…. are an amazing human being. I Thank our higher powers for the gift of…. You. 💜

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