Simply Living: Day 30: Simply Community

While we are on the subject of flaws, let's talk about one more. I have not always been a person who believed in community. In fact, I would say that while I was living in Florida, truly being in, or even wanting to be in community was something I sorely lacked. I'm a fiercely independent introvert. Let's not even get into my thoughts about "group projects" when I was in school. The idea of community was something that made me tired and down right cranky. No thank you. I'd like a double portion of alone with a side of I-can-do-it-better-my-way, please.

Of course, God isn't one to let me stay that way, because an isolated existence isn't really the way the family of God works.  God's people are called to live in community ( today we call it church ), and we are meant to rely on each other for everything, in every circumstance, at any time.

If you don't think that last sentence has made this independent introvert cringe for a long time, you would be oh-so-wrong.

I knew when we moved to minister at a church in a smaller community, that life outside community would no longer be an option. What I didn't know, was how grateful I would ultimately be to be shown the strength and comfort found in community.  It has taken us some time here to settle, to heal, to feel safe opening up. While that happened, we've been loved. Simply loved. Loved when I was prickly, loved when I was insecure, loved when I was frustrated, loved with food, with time, with words, with hugs and with presence. That's community. They bring food when you've traveled far and clean your windows when you're moving on. They send cards and make calls. They watch your children and at the end of the day tell you how wonderful those children are. They go on walks with you and shop with you and sing with you. They are not afraid to tell you when you are wrong and need to fix something, and then they give you a chance to fix it.

I've spent many years cultivating my independence and inner strength only to find that when it all came apart, I needed people around me to help me pick up the pieces. This time I not only want the help to do the picking up, I want the whole work to be made by those who would be my helpers. Each one of them personally constructing the pieces with their hands and their hearts. I find myself, in turn, leaving pieces of myself in the constructs of others' lives, an act which binds my heart to them in ways that an unfettered soul never knows.

And you, those of you who came here and read for the last thirty days, and the weeks and years before that, those of you who will return again and again in the weeks and years to come, you too, build me up in ways that are better and more beautiful than I could ever be alone. So I say thank you.  It's been a great month for me here at Deepening Years. I hope you've found some treasures too.  Tomorrow is  the last day of 31 days of change. I am changed, and so many of you reading these words have your mark on my heart.


Pattie said...

...and the encouraging words you've left on my blog have left a mark on my heart as well. Love you, friend!

Katie said...

Community... I began learning that with Pattie and Roland and Roma.... it continued after they left and I would not be the same without the community around me like you said.