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Staying Present

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

By Catherine Smith

In this stage of fellows, just six weeks until we are officially done, it feels like I am living in the past and planning my future. In Bill Clark’s class, we are examining the foundations of identity and how trauma plays a key role in understanding ourselves and our relationship attachments. In Capital Commons, our roundtable dinners, we’re spending time discussing investing in local churches and resolving conflict. I often find myself in quiet reflection, understanding how my childhood influences my behavior or predicting and planning my next career step as I navigate the job search. I’m reliving my past and imagining my future, but I’ve come to realize how out of touch I am with my present.

This became especially evident when last Sunday my screen time report flashed on my phone screen. Normally, out of denial and embarrassment, I ignore the notification and continue life blissfully unaware of the amount of time I spend on my phone. However, this Sunday I chose to look. Humbling, shocking, humiliating, and tragic are all words I would use to describe the feeling I got when I clicked the notification and saw the large number of hours staring back at me. After the initial jump scare, it sparked in me a curiosity of why the number was so high. After days of pondering the root of it, this is what I have concluded: I’m spending time unpacking my childhood and figuring out the next best step in my life and it gets overwhelming, but instead of living in the reality of today, I distract myself with other people’s lives and funny videos. While it is fun in the moment not to engage with the hard and unknown, I know I am called to be a participator not a bystander.

During our spring silent retreat this past Monday, I decided to read the book of Acts. I picked Acts solely because I wanted something in the New Testament that reads like a story, and it had been a while since I had picked up Acts. So, off I read, and quickly I was struck. The book of Acts details the spreading of the Gospel by brave and generous followers of Christ, yet amid the hustle, Acts 2:42-47 gives us a peak into the slowness and intentionality of their everyday lives. It details a community of believers sharing meals, encouraging one another, praying, teaching and just generally doing life together. They too, had complicated pasts and uncertain futures, but lived authentically in their present moments. As I am caught in the tension of understanding my past and planning my future, my prayer is that I do not neglect my present but continue to engage in sweet community and participate fully in the season the Lord has placed me.



Post Capital Commons dance party!

Joel, Matt B., and Matt M. on the Hill for a fun mid-workday reunion!

Max, Matt, and I on our way home from work!


Know a Potential Capital Fellow?

If you know a college senior or recent graduate that should consider joining the Capital Fellows program in 2024-25, please encourage them to get in touch with us. The easiest way to express interest in the program is our Contact Us Form. You can learn more about the program, including application deadlines, by visiting the Capital Fellows website.

About Capital Fellows. Capital Fellows is an advanced leadership and discipleship program for recent college graduates. Through graduate courses, a paid internship, one-on-one mentoring and many leadership and community service opportunities, fellows develop and apply their gifts in real-world situations while learning to integrate a Christian worldview into all areas of life. Capital Fellows is a unique opportunity to live and work in the Washington DC area and to be an active member of a supportive community that seeks to serve the city with the love of Christ. It is also a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience in the workplace while deeply exploring God’s design for us as workers and contributors to human flourishing.


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About The Fellows Initiative

Capital Fellows is part of a network of similar programs across the country. This network is called The Fellows Initiative. There are 34 Fellows programs in TFI, roughly 3,000 alumni living around the world, and more Fellows programs on the way.

If you know a church in the US or Canada that would benefit from joining TFI by launching a new Fellows program. Please contact TFI by visiting their website.


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