I go through periods where I think that I’m done with community. I think we all feel at one point or another that life would be easier if we just lived in a fox hole. So many of us who call ourselves Jesus followers enter into a faith community – whether that be how we structure our nuclear family, enter into small groups of some sort, or even create an extended faith/networking community through the glorious advent of web2.0 – that we hope will make us better people. Personally, I participate in all three and find tremendous value in these relational webs. My family is tracking, my faith communities are life-giving, and my social networks are valuable.
But then moments like these happen:
My kids fight and say “potty words”… what seems like ALL OF THE TIME. Are we really getting through to them?
I hear story after story of breakdowns that either end in that community’s demise or that “uncomfortable we’ll never talk about this again awkward jr. high break up moment” relationship. At the thought of these stories, I’m ready to throw in the towel and move on.
Then I see Twitter and facebook being used as name dropping self-promotional ego trips, which I guess that’s what “networking” is all about sometimes… but it just seems ugly.
Maybe it’s just because of my line of work, but I tend to hear too many stories where authenticity just isn’t happening. I know that there are honest people trying to do life together and make an impact in each other’s lives, but when that is put into practice… it seems that there isn’t reciprocity or true honesty. And I have to admit that at times I’m guilty of this as well. And it’s then that I just want to be finished with community.
As a member of a faith community and a church staff member, I feel this way more often that I would like. I guess I’ve been feeling that way lately and having a hard time passing Community 401.
Just being real.
But then last week, Jenna and I had a great conversation recently that renewed my faith in the power of living life together.
This past Thursday we had the final meeting of our home study. Our case worker came out to the house to view where we live and have conversations about our community, specifically how they would respond to our adoption but generally how we interact with them. As we started sharing story after story, I was blown away by how awesome we have it. Neighbors who care about us. Friends and Family that love us. I couldn’t believe how many neighbors I knew by name and knew at least part of their stories. I could list family after family at church that would be supporting us in our transition to becoming a bi-racial family. We told stories of our families surrounding us with love and support during this time in our lives.
I sometimes wish that community came easier to us, that our humanity didn’t get in the way of intimacy. I wish that it didn’t take our adoption home study to remind me that life-together is worth the hurdles. I know that true community wouldn’t be what it is without the more difficult moments that allow us to grow together in becoming more like Jesus, which at the end of the day is the point right.
So, a huge shout out to the basement boys, my Ada family, the folks on Windcrest SE, and of course my amazing family for sticking with me even when I’m at my worst. I’m so grateful for you!
How do you keep yourself aware that community is worth the effort?