No Cash Prize

By Ciara Rowley

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord's Supper), and to prayer. Acts 2:42 (NLT)

Why would a group of college-educated young adults devote a year to service and discernment in the name of God? After all, Millennials have a bit of a reputation for being self-serving and lazy. For me, one of the greatest gifts I get out of my service is community.

Community- (n)

  1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
  2. a group of men or women leading a common life according to a rule.
  3. a television comedy series created by Dan Harmon

I was raised as an only child of a single mother. I spent most of my childhood playing Barbies, reading and making kind, but rather dull, imaginary friends. There are lots of great things about being an only child like Christmas morning(!) and never having to share the bathroom when I was getting ready for school. But sometimes it can be lonely, and I always longed for things like “family game night” or dinners around the table talking about our days.

The community I am a part of with The Road is what I always imagined having a big family would be like. We share meals, worship, work through problems, argue, binge on baked goods, and explore Atlanta together. Our home (even in the still, numbing snow days) is a respite where we can be ourselves and feel loved because of it. I can ask stupid questions, make ridiculous claims and make fart jokes without fear of eye rolls or judgments. I can relax and shed my layers. I know that I can let my guard down and be myself. As a Road Fellow, I gained a community where it okay to admit your flaws and show off your talents.

I learn so much from my housemates. Maris has taught me I really do like brussel sprouts. Carlton taught me how to dance. Addie has taught me Cassey Ho’s workouts are tough; I’m not just being a baby. Alex has taught me not all frat guys are shallow or stupid. Danny has taught me you can still make pretty decent bread without a recipe. And Chelsea has taught me the Midwest is full of good-looking people. Together, we have learned the value of being open, listening and finding God. I don’t feel as if I’m competing with the amazing folks in house, rather we are all growing and exploring together.

So why would someone want to spend a year with six strangers without a television camera or competition for a cash prize? Family dinners. Dance parties. Affirmations. Compline. Push-up pact. Compromise. Early morning talks. Frisbee games. Long walks. Super Bowl parties. Understanding. Burrito night. Quiet conversations. Impromptu singing. Laughter. Group workouts.  Morning prayer. Private jokes.

And Unconditional Love.