If you are like me, you enjoy your alone time. I am not saying I am a loner or have no social interaction, I just like periods of time where I can do things on my own. I am a pretty independent person.
Knowing that, you’re probably wondering why the headline mentions joining a small group. Like I said, I enjoy my alone time, but I also enjoy my time with other people. I try to prioritize or set aside time for different occasions.
I cannot remember exactly when, but my pastor at church (the Rev. Paul Stallsworth) mentioned something in one of his sermons that really resonated with me. He advised the congregation to join a small group. It did not matter how many people were in it, he just said to be a part of one.
I didn’t immediately drop everything and join every club and organization in town, but I realized that I was already part of a small group at church. I am part of the handbell choir.
You’re probably thinking, “Handbell choir? Why does he do that?” Well, I can read music, and I was in the band in middle and high school. I wanted to continue reading music and learn how to play different instruments besides the trumpet.
There are about seven or eight of us in the handbell choir, and I play the high G and A notes on the treble clef. I never learned how to read the bass clef, so I stick with the small bells that play really high notes. It can get loud down on my end.
The group meets at 5:30 on Wednesday nights, and I like knowing there is a certain time set aside for me to be part of a small group. It is a supportive group of people with a common interest in music.
Back in August last year, I wanted to take the “small group” a step further (you know, take it up a notch), and I joined the F3 Whiteville men’s workout group. F3 stands for faith, fellowship and fitness.
Everyone in the group has his own nickname, and the group chooses it after your first workout. I was named Kodak since I am a photographer at The News Reporter. When I see my fellow brothers out in public, I’m not referred to by my hospital name but by my F3 name. It reassures my acceptance and presence in the group, and it is a good feeling.
Having that 7 a.m. workout on Saturday mornings is like a test for me.
I go to the gym at Body Shapers during the week and work out on my own there. I view my F3 workouts as a test of strength and endurance to see if my efforts in the gym are paying off.
In a way, I feel like I get to be a part of many small groups because of my job. If there is an organization event going on, I am usually there taking pictures. If there is a civic club hosting a fundraiser or charity, I am usually there taking pictures. If there is a sporting event, I am usually there taking pictures. You get the picture (you see what I did there?).
Even though I am not an official member of these groups, I still witness and document the actions and emotions of those people. I get to publish those pictures every week in the newspaper and at nrcolumbus.com and share them with the public.
It has become a running joke when I see Sheriff Hatcher at an event that I am photographing. He always says, “Man, you are everywhere.” Yes, indeed I am. I love having a fun job and going to places and events that I normally would not go to.
Even for someone like me who likes his personal space and alone time, I would advise just like my pastor did to join a small group. Having a support system with motivation, encouragement and reassurance can really help someone achieve their goals like I am doing with music and fitness.
Aside from taking pictures of small groups on my professional time, it is the small groups on my leisure time that really make the difference. The power of joining a small group (and sticking with it) is a powerful thing. I would hate for you to waste it.