Community: a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
In high school community is an age old structure that we compliantly fall into. Kids divide into clusters like a honeycomb, an act of nature that provides the architecture of purpose for the socially buzzing teens that dart from class to activities. If you go to college then you’re usually drawn towards the two epicenters of social life and academics. This commonality creates camaraderie that gives us a sticky social glue making friendships pretty easy. We go from holding cups of coffee over a book to a glass of cheap wine or tasteless beer in a dirty house pasted with posters and lined with old couches.
Some of us become moms and dads accessorized by homes and jobs. Our time is parceled out by responsibility and duty. And most parents of young children would say their lives are busier, and hearts are fuller than ever. And maybe our arms are too full of kids to feel lonely, or empty, but community also becomes like more of an ideal than a school building or college major.
Many around us seem to find their sweet spot- the place where “everybody knows their name.” Maybe its the office, or a sports team. Maybe its at church, or a group forged through time and common interest.
I love how easily daughter finds community in her preschool classroom. I drop her off and watch as kids chase each other, flapping their arms excitedly. I kiss her goodbye see her feather head bob away to join the flock. I love that she is in a place in her life that community can come as naturally as breathing.
As we get older, finding a place we belong gets more complicated. And yet we all long for this fellowship, we all need it.
One of the beautiful and complicated realities as an adult, is that community becomes more like a patchwork quilt of people and passion, and places. Our lives are filled with places of uncertainty and loneliness, along with the bright and intricate patches of friends, worn soft with time and familiarity.
I find that the best moments of community have taken me by surprise. But it always takes a couple of uncertain and uncomfortable steps as I gradually open myself up bit by bit. Because when I slow down, and say a cautious yes; when I lean in, and take time to listen more closely; when I am real, and honest, thats when I can slowly weave the trust and love that holds me together through the times in life when I’m unraveling. That’s where I find the people that make life worth living. Not just any people: my people.
Do you have community? If not, maybe a fresh hope group is a good place to start.