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Volunteer Friday #24

Volunteer Friday #24

Every other Friday we take a moment to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed StudentsSunday TeamsCatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week, meet David!

DAVID BELL

Volunteer Area(s): Tear Down Team (soon to be part of Parking Team)

Why did you choose to volunteer in each of your areas? 

Being a part of smaller church communities in the past that were very dependent on volunteer involvement, I learned quickly that the church, by its nature, functions when it is predominantly about giving and provision as its purpose instead of receiving. 

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What has been one of your favorite moments as a volunteer? 

Visiting with new acquaintances while volunteering. They always help us out!

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be? 

In-process (yes I added the hyphen to convince myself that's one word)

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte: 

Sept 24th (kidding)! I gorge myself on brunch at some dainty nouveau restaurant that I'll have to own up to later, go to WWC for a run while Christen hits the rock wall, my buds and I mosh pit with strangers to a bluegrass or jazz band, then we drive home sweaty with pico de gallo hot dogs from Carlos at 36th & Davidson in terrible need of electrolytes and a plan for how we can't keep doing this to our bodies anymore.

 

NEXT I'D LIKE WATERSHED TO FEATURE LIZ CROSBY!

POUR OVER: WHEN THE OTHER SHOE DROPS

POUR OVER: WHEN THE OTHER SHOE DROPS

What would each of our staff members share if we had the chance to sit down with you one-on-one over a cup of coffee? What is God doing in our lives, and how are we personally experiencing transformation and awakening? Pour Over is a blog series by our Watershed staff members answering those very questions. Today we'll hear from Abbie Fay, Watershed Office Administrator, GreenHouse Support... and quiet force behind much of what goes on around here!


If you have ever met me in person, you know that I am a woman of few words. I have found in my 27 years of life that being quiet and listening is a lot easier than putting myself out there and talking. That requires vulnerability, something that I have struggled with since childhood. 

I was a shy child, so much so that talking to people was terrifying for me. I remember in 6th grade when my family moved to a new town and started going to a new church. My parents coaxed me into going to the youth group in order to make friends. The problem was that I was so terrified of this new situation and of my peers that I spent every week with my back against a wall, not moving for the entire two hours. It took me a year to get up the courage to actually acknowledge the people who tried to talk to me and begin making friends. This is just one instance in my long history of struggling with communicating and interacting with other people.

Despite my early struggles, I somehow found a way to enjoy life and build relationships. Friends at school, buddies on the ski slopes, and roommates in college... I was put into situations where being vulnerable was made easier by being forced to live with someone, ride the chairlift over and over for hours on end, and do homework together for classes. Opening up to people is a lot easier when you don’t have a choice of who you do life with.

This all changed when I got married and moved to California with my husband. In California, he was the only person I knew, but that was okay because I felt comfortable being vulnerable with him, at least initially. I was looking forward to moving across the country to an exciting new place and starting life with the man that I loved.

But that excitement for this new life didn’t last long. Some issues that we had discussed before we got married, that I didn’t think were a big deal, began to grow and slowly consume our lives. I started to sink into despair as the safety net that I felt I had in my husband slowly fell away. 

All of a sudden I found myself lonely and desperate for someone to talk to. I touched base with my friends and family back home, but I didn’t feel like I could talk about what was really going on in my life with anyone. I had friends in California, but they were surface-level friends, and, even if they were vulnerable with me, I never felt comfortable enough to be vulnerable with them. I engaged enough to make it seem like I had my life together, but aside from that I never put in any effort to help these relationships grow. 

As time went on and things got worse, I began to stop caring about having someone to talk to. Staying home and knitting on a Friday night was a lot easier than going to someone’s house and actually engaging in conversation with them. I slowly isolated myself to the point where I had no desire to spend time with people. I would spend my free time knitting or sewing and thinking about everything that was wrong with my life, and how much I hated everything, especially other people. I began to feel that, as an adult, people only hurt each other, so there was no point in trying to befriend anyone, and there definitely was no point in being vulnerable with anyone, because I would just get hurt in the end. 

I got to the point where I didn’t even feel like a real person. I was just going through the motions, trying to keep everything together, just trying to survive another day. I felt numb, I stopped crying when my husband and I would argue, I became a very angry person when things would not go my way at work, and I stopped knowing how to have fun. I was a shell of a person: lonely, isolated, and miserable. 

This all changed when the proverbial “other shoe” dropped in my marriage, and I crumbled. The problem that we were facing had grown so big that it had consumed our marriage completely and was now slowly killing it. I could not handle it alone anymore, it was too much. I had to talk to someone, anyone, about what was going on. 

The day everything came crashing down, I needed a distraction, so I decided to drive to work, the only other place in that town that felt like home. I ended up talking to a couple of girls who were working at the time, and to my surprise, they were comforting, and supportive, and understanding. They didn’t judge me, they just listened. 

I began to open up to more people, and so did my husband. I realized that I wasn’t the only one who was isolated. We had both isolated ourselves from the outside world, and from each other (which is pretty hard to do in a 500 sq ft apartment!). We both started seeking help. We met with other couples who had gone though what we were going through, we started going to counseling, but I knew I was still isolating myself more than I should. I was still afraid to talk to people about what was going on inside my head and heart.

We moved to Charlotte a year and a half ago, in December 2015. We left California about six months after we started the recovery process for our marriage. My first year in Charlotte was a year of healing. Being in a new place, I was able to see everything that had been going on in my life from a new perspective. I was able to be more vulnerable with my family and my husband’s family about what was going on in our lives. I could feel myself awakening from the numbness that I had fallen into the previous two years. 

This year has been a year of clarity. We are still in counseling, but we can actually see the light at the edge of the woods now, rather than just darkness. I finally feel alive again. I am learning that even though isolating myself is my default, in the long run it does more harm than good. There are actually studies that show that isolation and loneliness can be harmful to a person’s mental, emotional, and even physical well being. We as humans are not meant to live life in complete isolation. 

I am still figuring out what all this means for me. While I would rather spend a Friday night knitting or sewing (and most other nights of the week, honestly!), I am learning to step out of my comfort zone and find ways to form relationships with others, whether it is joining a Bloc, tutoring, or coaching. It is definitely still a learning process for me, and I still struggle with even talking with people at times without feeling super awkward. But I know that I am on the right path. I am growing and transforming right now, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

 

If any of this resonated with you, or if you would just like to talk, please feel free to email me: abbie@watershedcharlotte.com.

Volunteer Friday #15

Volunteer Friday #15

WELCOME TO VOLUNTEER FRIDAY!

Every other Friday we take a moment to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed StudentsSunday TeamsCatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week, meet David!

DAVID HARRIS

Volunteer Area(s): I play in the both the regular worship band and the GreenHouse band. 

Why did you choose to volunteer in each of your areas?

Before Watershed I was playing in a couple of bands that had broken up. I was complaining one day to Greg Lilley, the drummer in one of those, about not having anywhere to play anymore. He said that had been recruited by this new "church plant” and suggested I give that a shot. Before I really knew what happened I found myself on stage at Actors Theater for the second Sunday of Watershed’s existence. I think I called Matt "Scott" and Scott "Matt" for the first year but eventually I got that squared away. Lots of things have changed since then but I still enjoy playing music here every chance I get. It is a blessing indeed to share the stage and listen to all these wonderful and talented people.  

What has been one of your favorite moments as a volunteer? 

Back in the early days and sometimes even now the band will put itself out there a bit and really showcase our many talented members. Usually as a performer I am too focused to just listen and enjoy. The best moments for me are when I am sitting out there in the crowd watching my friends bring the house down with something unexpected and awesome. Sorry, I really couldn’t pick just one. 

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be

Family.

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte:

I enjoy Charlotte most when I can get outside and enjoy the great weather. Also, no day can truly be great without good friends and live music. Mix all that up and that is about as good as it gets for me. 

 

NEXT I'D LIKE WATERSHED TO FEATURE ELIZABETH BENFIELD WATSON BECAUSE... She has been quietly serving for Watershed for a quite a while as A Bloc leader, Greeter, and Cafe volunteer. She is a great example of what makes our community special and deserves a little time in the spotlight. 

Volunteer Friday #11

Volunteer Friday #11

WELCOME TO VOLUNTEER FRIDAY!

Every other Friday we take a moment to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed StudentsSunday TeamsCatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week, meet Derek!

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DEREK WHITMIRE

Volunteer Area(s): Set-up Team, Catapult at Byers
 

Why did you choose to volunteer in each of your areas?

Set-up team started several years ago after some very endearing arm twisting from Matt O'Neil. Then I got to know some of the great guys who are there at 7:30 a.m. every Sunday and it feels cool to be a part of the unsung heroes behind the scenes.

I started tutoring at Byers in 2012 shortly after returning from a Watershed trip to Guatemala. That trip forever changed how I viewed generosity and investing in people to glorify God. Catapult is one of the single greatest things we do as a community and I'm so grateful to have met the most amazing family in the process who I now consider to be a part of my family.

What has been one of your favorite moments as a volunteer? 

Last summer my wife and I we're able to purchase a used mini van for the mother of our Byers kids. The generous donations from so many of you at Watershed left me in awe of our community and what God is capable of after a big leap of faith. Taking a 42-year-old mother of seven children to pick up the first vehicle she's ever owned and watching her sign the title with tears in her eyes was easily the best moment yet. 

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be

Enduring.

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte:

18 holes in the morning, all Charlotte sports teams win, then a friends gathering at Cantina with never ending queso.

 

I'D LOVE TO SEE ONE OF OUR BEARDED ALL STARS, JEREMY EDWARDS FEATURED NEXT. HE IS MR. RELIABLE AT ORCHESTRATING THE SET-UP EACH SUNDAY MORNING AND HAS NEVER ONCE YELLED AT ME FOR BEING LATE, SLOW, OR HALF ASLEEP.