Being a New York girl in DC takes a certain amount of cultural adjustment. You learn there are differences that though slight are worth noting. Small things such as dreads are less of a statement or lifestyle choice, Nike boots are not sold in the hiking section of the store and that public transportation can have carpeting.
But without a doubt the biggest adjustment I had to make in DC was leaving my home church and finding a new one. After weeks of trial and error and a whole lot of appeals and altar calls, I had finally found one that felt somewhat like home. Their pastor was not just a shouter but an intellectual, the folks took their community service duty to heart and there were tons of opportunities for me to be involved in the “extracurricular” activities like tutoring or the choir. But I did none of those things, not ever, not once.
Truth is, for every time I walked through the doors and was handed a program and a “Welcome this good morning” I felt less and less like there was any possibility I’d ever really belong here. To be completely transparent, there was also the small fact that my night before partying made my actual attendance records mildly sporadic and impossible to predict. If church were like elementary school, I would have gotten no gold stars or ground level Staples bought certificates for participation. I was a sanctified slacker and by the time junior year study abroad approached, I decided I was going to become what one of the elders back home had called a “mango picker”- a church hopping visitor who only came to praise once in a blue moon.
After spending a summer and rainy winter in London, I returned with the determination that I would wake up, roll myself out of bed and in my stupor, hail a cab for church. And I will pause here to explain to folks reading that hailing a cab in dc on a weekend morning you have about as good of a shot as OJ doing an Oprah interview. Slim to none.
I finally decided that maybe God just wanted me to get some much-needed sleep. Literally, as I turned to head back in the direction of my bed, I heard a honk. When I looked up, I saw the same woman who had always handed me a program like it was the first time waving at me from her minivan. Once I was saddled up in the backseat with her kids, I thanked her for the ride and said something awkward along the lines of “how did you even recognize me?”
She answered me as matter-of-factly as Tasha Smith in any one of her Tyler Perry appearances and said, “Girl, I’d know you anywhere, believe me.”
It was the first time I did, I mean really did. She said it as if I had asked her if the sky was above us or if the ground was under out feet. And perhaps it’s true that often our own insecurity and impatience makes us think we’re not memorable when that’s the furthest thing from the truth.
Today, remind yourself that you are worth remembering in case you ever forget.