There have been points in my life in recent years that I put up strong and impermeable fences around the borderlands of my family. I thought the way to keep us strong together was to keep others out. I believed that if we spent energy on others, we would run out of love for each other. We have found the opposite to be true as we are experimenting with expanding the boundaries, inviting others in. I want to do community better.
I’ve sat next to people thinking we were going deep only to find out just days later that their world was shattering, heart all broken up. I’ve thought I was loving people well only to find out later that I wasn’t. I’ve not been at hospital bedside, holding hands, when I should have been. I’m terrible at phone calls but I want to do community better.
My mamma said to my daddy last weekend “whatever happened to an old-fashioned barn raising? When everyone comes and they get a barn up in a weekend? That just doesn’t happen anymore…”I thought that is true but then this weekend, my husband built a fence, and young men kept finding their way up our mountain and digging ditches. He didn’t call any of them and they built a fence to keep my children safe. I gave them ham sandwiches and we heard about a couple of love stories in the making and they called it ‘the property’ (instead of Joel and Melissas house) and it was good. We also got a new truck except it is old. A dear one gave us a Jeep a few years ago. We gave our Pathfinder to a guy who needed it. He gave it to another friend when he could afford better. He passed it to another who kept it for a while until the gas was too much. It came home today. We trade around vehicles again because one truck is better than another and one needs a different kind and I think this is how church is supposed to work.
There is so much for me to learn on this. Much of the time community, authentic and true, scares me. People in the flesh make me nervous. But then, there is this new fence. It is permeable and it creates safe places for gathering and life building.
And friends? This is something we just have to get right; people are lonely and broken and have needs right next door to you. We have to do community better.
i hear you on this. people make me nervous too, and doing real life together gets messy…but it’s the only way authentic loving becomes possible. i’ve been getting better at this, but really i just need to cannon-ball into the deep end of community. i appreciate your encouragement!
preach it…yes, yes…i agree…many of our lives have become secluded…we dont know our neighbors…we work, we come home, watch tv go to sleep…or our kids are in sports and we meet people and talk briefly but never really know what is going on in their lives…great challenge and post…
amen. i have to work to trust and let people in. thanks for the illustration of community….
Oh how I agree with these words that you write! Its all about living life together, being real, THIS is fellowship!
Yes… the world shattering messes me up, I don’t know what to do with it. I’m with you on all scores, but people don’t always want in, or sometimes I want out!! 🙂
Ha! Yes I sometimes want out too Linda!!! You are the best!
melissa, YES… this is church. this is how it’s meant to work. oh, i love this post: the book of Acts in the flesh. love you sister.
oh, i love this! it is all so wonderful and i ‘hear’ you about all of it…wanting to OPEN my home more and just do life with others…have our family bless…i keep thinking it will happen when i am more settled, but it needs to happen even though i have just a few weeks where i live…every interaction has the opportunity to bless and leave a legacy:)
love your heart!
I’ve a community that I love but this last week it has gotten messy, and a little painful and my old hurts are stinging. Some really ugly music is coming out of the ipod in my soul and while I am trying to resist dancing, what I really want is to not hear the music. And then I read your post and I so agree, Melissa I want to do community! I want to walk through the messy with love dripping off of me regardless if there is mud dripping too. I want His love in word and deed to be a hallmark of my character and I am being tested. Thanks for trying to learn these lessons, too, and sharing. It helps to know I’m not alone.
What a gorgeous sentiment Joybird! Yes mud AND love…always!
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Love your post – I identify:) Thank you.