Some Thoughts On Community…
As I reflect on the past semester of my college career, I find myself fixated on the beauty of the community that I’ve found myself apart of. In a world where feeling alone increasingly seems to be the norm, I find it necessary to reflect on the importance of having good community around. When I say “good” community, I mean people that I can be 100% myself with, people that will celebrate with me, people that will cry with me, and people that will always speak truth into my life whether I like it or not.
Guarded Into Numbness
I’ve spent a good portion of my life extremely guarded, trying to avoid being really known by the people around me, as I fear the pain of rejection. Believing the lie that if people actually know me, they are only going to hurt me, kept me out of any sort of vulnerability in community. What I thought was protecting me, was actually isolating into numbness. This is not how life is supposed to be. Oftentimes, our efforts to avoid pain end up hurting us more than we realize. It’s easy to think growing up in church that following Jesus means that our lives are going to be easy and pain-free. Personally, I think this is the result of cultural, comfortable, happy-clappy Christianity that is often tied in with the American Dream. (I won’t get too far into that. It’s a different article for a different day.) But, I bring this up to say that life is messy and Jesus himself told us it would be. In John 16, he tells us plainly, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
All Suffer Together; All Rejoice Together
I bring all this up to express the importance of community. We’ve established the fact that life sucks sometimes. But do you know what doesn’t suck? Having people to sort through the shit storm with. Community does not always look like smiley people on Sunday morning who, when asked how they are, respond with “blessed.” Community helps us “take heart” and encourages us when our faith is weak. Community is messy, full of ups and downs, and it sometimes requires us to be broken and vulnerable. In the last several months of my life, community was sobbing together in living rooms, breaking bread in the form of Applebee’s half-priced appetizers, late-night Rip-Sticking lessons, vegan tacos, long and vulnerable car conversations, political disagreements, sharing stories and whiskey around bonfires, and saying goodbyes to friends as post-college life takes them to other states. As I write this, I cringe because it sounds hella cheesy, however, cheese is good in moderation. Hopefully, this serves as an encouragement to anyone who might feel alone in their mess to take a risk and be vulnerable with someone. I want to end by saying a simple thank you to everyone throughout the past semester who has been courageously open and allowed my walls to come down.
1 Corinthians 1:26-27
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.