Archives for August 5, 2014

Community and finding your place in it

bench via kimberlyanncoyle.com

It’s gone a bit quiet on the East coast front. The kids spent the last week in summer camp, and I spent it sitting around with a book in one hand and the best conversationalist in the world holding the other. I finished a book and started a second, and for the most part I ignored the internet, with the exception of posting gratuitous photos of sunsets and such on instagram. I can’t help myself. We’ll both know I crossed the line when I start posting photos of myself in a swimsuit, until then all the other truly beautiful moments of my life are up for grabs. Are you on instagram? If so, leave your handle in the comments, I’d love an invitation to a slice of your everyday.

Behind the scenes, big things are happening here. We filled the rest of the empty rooms in our house with real, grown-up furniture, and the outdoor project, the one I lovingly call “The Money formerly known as College Tuition” and my husband calls his “Dream Come True”, continues to take shape. My husband volunteered us to host two large parties in our home this September. Hold me, I’m so not hostess material. But, as we fill in these empty spaces with lovely things, I see how this allows us to fill them with laughter and conversation and lovely people too. As we grow out, we also grow down. Each of our projects is another root taking hold here, another grasping at the soil of this neighborhood and town and state. I feel it breaking up the hard places in me, the places I want to contract, where I stay small and linger in the past.

Roots tear up false foundations, they go deep and wide until they find enough nourishment to support new growth. I realize how much intention it requires to live rooted to a place. It is a constant choosing of this home, this church, these friends, this life. It is choosing to find where my individual piece fits into the puzzle of my community. I find it easier to say that I simply don’t fit, rather than do the hard work of finding exactly the right spot for me and my particular set of personality quirks. When you’re not sure what you have to offer, it takes intentionality to figure that out and then have the courage to offer it.

Years ago, I sat in a living room full of women who had known each other for years. They’d walked each other through miscarriages and births and moves and life change. One of the women came to the group crying one morning, and as some of the others surrounded her to pray, she muttered through her tears that she was so lonely, and she wanted God to bring her caring friends. Her words came across like a slap in the face to the women who had stood by her for years, supporting her and her family in every way they knew how. She couldn’t see the good and the true standing right in front of her. She couldn’t see it when they rocked her babies to sleep or met her for coffee or prayed over her fears.

I don’t want to take the good and the true in my life for granted. I don’t want to lump them in with the hard and the bad. I want to stand in the kitchen of a friend and call her a gift. I want to look at my church and call it life-giving. I want to see my home as a safe haven from the world. Because it is, and they are–gifts, havens, sources of life. This is my prayer for the rest of this year, my year of intention. To see the truth and find my place in it.

……………………..

Have you found your place in your community? I’d love to hear about how you see yourself in relation to it, and how you fit community into your life.