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.