I’ve started a new blog at www.droppingtheact.com. Check it out for the latest content.
Community. It’s a word that’s tossed around a lot in the church and something, I believe, that each of us longs for. A place where we’re known and we belong. One of the things I loved and missed desperately about living in India was the community that surrounded us. Our family built relationships there that will last a lifetime. And while I was thrilled when we moved back home to the States, part of me was really missing our India friends and the level of relationship that we shared. We stayed in each other’s homes, shared meals, and were “aunts” and “uncles” to each other’s children. Life moved at a different pace, and no one was ever too busy to make time for some face-to-face interaction.
But that level of community didn’t just happen. Obviously, Jesus was at the center of all of those relationships, but thinking about it, two other ingredients were vital to creating that perfect blend of friendship and love that accepted each other’s flaws and lifted one another up when we were weak and tired: vulnerability and time.
The level of trust/vulnerability that I had with my friends in India was immeasurable. Our shared experiences created an instant bond between us that was difficult to put into words. But when our family came back home to the States I didn’t have that community anymore. Honestly, much of the reason why I didn’t experience that deep community (except with a few close friends) when we came back was because I wasn’t ready–and I was scared. Vulnerability can be scary (but also very rewarding). There was so much that had happened, and I had changed in ways that I couldn’t easily explain, that I was afraid of how people would respond, or if they would even understand. And I was still working through some things with Jesus, and I just wasn’t up to the commitment on a large scale. Because living in community definitely takes commitment. Which leads me to the next ingredient…time.
I could bemoan the fact that, in America, we’re too busy and life moves at a breakneck speed–but I’m not going to do that. Because, while that can be true, I know that we have the capacity to forge those same relationships even in the midst of busyness if we’re willing to make the effort. Our culture shock coming home involved realizing that everyone, ourselves included, had to schedule “hang-out” time, sometimes months in advance. There was very little room in anyone’s schedule for spontaneous get-togethers, but those were the times when we really got to know each other. Our family is moving into a new season of ministry where we will be diving in with our whole hearts and, hopefully :), living in strong community with some new friends. We are so excited just thinking about it! My prayer for you is that you have that same experience wherever you live. It’s worth all of the time and vulnerability that’s required!