Its a buzzword. We all seem to want it but we don’t seem to know how to create it. Tonight I sat in a room with 20 other young women most of whom are new to Cincinnati and they all expressed the same desire to be in community. I too say that what I miss the most about NC is sense of community.
But what is it that is missing… I have people. I have friends. I have stuff to do in my free time. What is it that I am missing????
Community is not having to worry about how no product seems to flatten my hair, its moving over a pile of folded laundry so you can sit down on the sofa and tell someone about your day, its listening and loving the new project or piece of music or art or dish that someone has created because you can see so much of the person in what they did, its not having to explain the 30 pages of back story that lead up to the event of great significance that you are bursting to share with another human being, its sharing a meal and doing the dishes, its the place where you can go and ask questions and have doubts and not feel ashamed and sometimes even find the answers, its a warm bed and cup of coffee in the morning on short notice, its not where everyone is like you but it is where everyone accepts you, its the good night hug from a 5 yo, its bad jokes that were not that funny in hindsight but with the people and the time and place was hilarious and still is, its a prayer that is not just a prayer but an embrace of empathy, its the people that when a medical catastrophe or life catastrophe happens: you lie on their coach or on their shoulder and cry for a little while they make you dinner or sit in the ED with you, it sitting in the back of a big van and singing off key Broadway for 11 hours. Community is not just the touchy-feely-summer camp-kum-by-ya-campfire kind of gush of love. Its also messy. It means getting vulnerable before people, before your God, it means sharing tragedies and failings. It means picking people off the floor after they fall from a height. It means being there in the dark so that they can remember the light. Its also yes the people you fight with the hardest and the most but you also find a way to put yourselves back together, community is not just your friends its the people you live and share life with.
I have come to a startling and somewhat depressing conclusion that there is no magic formula of team building exercises or awkward ice breakers or sharing of life stories/testimonies/etc that creates this. It is not made, its born out of experiences, hard work and time. Real healthy, community is rare. But once you had it…you’ve had it. You don’t want the cheap stuff from Wal-Mart. You want the pricey wine.
In the end everyone wants it, its biblical, its human, its a need, we are all searching for it. There is joy in the journey especially if you found the end before because you know it exists. You know community is not just a buzzword or urban myth. It exists, its real and its vital to understanding ourselves and understanding God.