Are you looking for a life that fits in a box? Are you looking for a journey with clearly marked on and off ramps? Do you know anyone that actually has a life like that? Yeah, me either.
I used to think I wanted that. I used to think other people had that and I was somehow missing out. I used to think there was a secret formula that would get me one of those lives. I used to think if I could dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s and follow all the right steps in the right order I too could arrive and life would be a breeze from there on out.
I spent some time last week with a group of people talking about community and what makes a good one and how you get there. Do you want to know what stuck out to me as a common thread in every single story? Suffering. Hardship. Pain. Loss.
Wait a minute!!!
I thought community was a good thing. I thought community was something people long for. I thought community was a place people were clamoring to be a part of. Why would anyone sign up for something where one of the common denominators of success is suffering, hardship, pain and loss? Because…in the words of a very dear friend of mine…People need people. People need people to laugh and joke and play and work with every day. People need people to share inside jokes with. It’s really not very fun to laugh by yourself for very long.
People need people when they just can’t stand on their own. God made us that way from the beginning. He knew that even in a perfect place with a perfect relationship with Him…people need people. Adam needed Eve even when everything was right with his world. How much more would they need each other after the Fall? Life was about to go terribly wrong for them. Can you imagine how lonely Adam would have been completely on his own at that point? I don’t know about you but I see a glimpse of God’s mercy in that. I see a glimpse of His love for humanity. He could have chosen to isolate Adam. He could have chosen to keep him all to himself. He could have walked in the garden alone with him forever, but He decided to share. He decided to give him a companion. He decided to offer him community.
I’ve had community. I have community. I long for community. I am a part of a number of communities that I wouldn’t trade for the world and I find myself in a season of building community and longing for something new to develop. Even community doesn’t fit in a box. There is no clear break from one community to the next as you go thru life.
In the words of many a Girl Scout…make new friends but keep the old…one is silver and the other GOLD!