I love looking at words and dissecting them. I love when I see multiple words in one, as if this word was never meant to just mean one thing. Never meant to be put in a box of exclusivity. When I see community, I see commune, defined as a group of people living together, sharing responsibilities. I see unity, defined as the state of being united or joined as a whole. So community in essence is a group of united people, joined and sharing in responsibilities. Love it!
I feel this is a craving all of humanity has, regardless of race, religion or socioeconomic status. This desire to be connected with other humans that understand us, stand with us & comfort us. A desire to have a tribe, a group, friends. My personal opinion on this is that we were never meant to do this life alone. We were never placed here to simply survive and take care of numero uno. We are here to unite, to serve & to thrive. Regardless of your beliefs, wouldn’t we all like to live a life that brings us peace? Joy? Where does this begin? What does this look like?
Starting in the secular circle you have already been placed upon is the best start. You don’t have to look far to see others that are seeking the same deep connection you are. Some of us can start in our home, making amends with those who hurt us, starting the dialogue of forgiveness. For others this can be a neighbor that you see in passing but have yet to say more than hi to! It could be your church, your kids school, your local community center. Community is literally all around us, waiting for us to just step out and show up.
When that feeling of anxiety works it’s way up into your throat, remind yourself this is just fear. This is our fear of rejection, disapproval or disappointment. This is normal. Do it anyway. The next time you take that first awkward step out of your comfort zone, the anxiety will be less. Then something amazing happens. Kindness. Kindness to others, kindness to yourself. You stop caring about what others may think because you begin to feel the transformation of community and all it has to offer. The first time you connect with another person that just seems to get you, a rush fills your body. Excitement takes over that you have found the one! Then you seek to continue to see if there are more of y’all! There are….oh, there are! I’ll never forget my first “mom” friend that finally made me feel normal. Made me feel accepted for my thoughts and loved despite my flaws. For a little while I thought I found the only other person on this earth that understood me, until I met another…then another! What’s funny is we are all unique and different but we share similar circumstances, feelings, experiences that unite us!
Isolation is a scary place. Lord knows I’ve been there. As bubbly of a personality as I may have when I’m in a good head space, there is another side lurking below the hormonal lies of loneliness. The lies that tell me no one cares and no one understands. Despite my best efforts, these lies creep in during the most inopportune times. They often show up during the height of holidays or moments before I’m required to be “on”. On as a mom, on as a wife, on as a friend. For years I fell into these isolated traps that left me crying and asking why. It wasn’t until I found community, others, that I could be transparent and vulnerable with that I realized I am not alone.
You see friends, we all have our own bag of crap. We all have bad days, weeks, months, seasons. But we also all have eachother. Taking that first step to just saying hi when you feel prompted could introduce you to “that” person, that sees you, understands you. This is not sure proof and yes, sometimes it will be a flop. But how will we know if we don’t try? The worst case scenario is never as scary as your mind makes it out to be.
So take that first step. Join that moms group that you never thought you would. Go to that class, spark up a conversation. Attend church but stick around afterwards, be open. Take a walk outside and wave at those who pass, say hello. Life is scary, but it’s so much scarier alone. Take a chance on yourself, take a chance on that other person that might need you. YOU are someone else’s “person”.
I trust that at some point in all of our lives we have experienced joy from a relationship. Whether it be a teacher, a friend, a coworker. Take that memory of joy and use it. There is more if it out there if you just take a chance to see it. Let the hurt and disappointments of past relationships fall away and trust that those experiences provided you the endurance to keep going. The character to be a better person because of it. The hope to know there is so much more.
I hope these words can be a source of confidence and courage to walk alongside you in a world that can be tough to navigate.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”
Romans 5:3-4 NLT