Hey Are You Coming In? | Toby Van Der Veer

I joined InterVarsity Christian Fellowship 2 1/2 years ago.

The day I went to my first meeting, I loitered around this news board
in the hall of science, fidgeting out of the sheer nervousness that comes
with joining a new organization.

“Maybe people won’t approach me if I pretend to look busy.”

After about a minute of pretending to read the news board, this guy named
Jacob had the guts to approach me and say hi to me.

“Hey, are you coming in?”

He seemed to see right through the façade I was trying to put on.  I was scared
but in a way really appreciative that this guy I didn’t know reached out to me
when he honestly didn’t have to.

As I walked in, others introduced themselves to me.  One after another, they
asked about my major, what I liked to do; if I wanted to hangout.  I was
kind of overwhelmed from confusion.

“Who in the right mind would hang out with a guy they never met before?”

Little did I know, this chapter was going through a struggle of having
everyone feel seen because it was getting so big.  A lot of people left the
chapter and held bitterness towards the leadership team. About a year
after I joined, I started to feel the same way.

Around this time, I was living with Jacob and others at the shitty Beverly
apartments on Atherton Street. As I sat on the smelly couch in our dank
apartment one day, I let out a sigh and told Jacob what was on my mind.

“Man, I don’t feel seen anymore.”

“It’s inevitable,” Jacob told me.

About a year later, I brought this issue up again.

“Man, I hate how others aren’t feeling seen.”

“It’s inevitable,” Jacob again told me, “but we’re doing everything we can to fix the problem.”

So what’s so significant about this sad boy story?

To me community means doing everything we can to fix the problem
and doing so despite held bitterness towards the leadership team, a team
that goes above and beyond to be in two places at once in order to make
everyone feel loved. It means being poured into so much so to the point
where you reverse a good chunk of lifelong brokenness in the span of only
2 1/2 years. For me that means being able to say and believe within myself that
“…I hate how OTHERS aren’t feeling seen” only 2 1/2 years after I only cared
about how “…I don’t feel seen anymore.”

But most of all,

community means continuing to put faith into something that feels uncertain
and is not perfect in order to finally be able to see and harvest the beautiful
fruits of the labor we put into it. Not everyone sticks around for 2 1/2 years like
I did after all.




So are you coming in?



For more pieces from the One Body Art show, visit the Max L. Gatov East Gallery at CSULB.

Monday (3/20), Tuesday (3/21), & Thursday (3/23): 12PM – 5PM.
Wednesday (3/22): 12PM-7PM]

For more of my stories and journal entries, visit my blog.


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