December 12, 2019

Escaping the Wilderness – Some thoughts on Community

Escaping the Wilderness – Some thoughts on Community

…it is our job as a church family to be there for you, to help as we might be able, to sympathize with your situation, to pray for you, to weep with you, to care for you.
– Chaplain Mike

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

Wouldn’t you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name
– Cheers Theme Song

I have been thinking a lot about community this week. So Chaplain Mike’s post yesterday was both timely and apropos.

A friend of mine got a tattoo this week. Six of her friends got the same one. Two years ago her family bought a trailer in a trailer park on the edge of a large river near here. They spend weekends there in the summer, and the campers have really become a tight knit community, enjoying their weekends together. The tattoo was their way to celebrate the community that they have become, and the tattoo included the coordinates of the campground. I am happy for them that they have made such good friends.

To be honest though, it also made me sad, because it was a reminder that they used to be part of my community; part of the small group that I used to lead. My wife and I were the ones who had invited them to our church, but beyond a couple of other people in our small group, they didn’t really make very good connections.

Another friend’s family is going through an extremely difficult time. Beyond what I could ever endure. Today she posted this today on Facebook:

Ever feel so emotionally physically and mentally exhausted that you donít even have the energy to cry? So you sit there and stare at nothing, numb of all emotions, thoughts, or time.

Please pray for this family. They have support from a cycling community, but are not connected into a church. Like my other friend mentioned here, there have been interactions, but nothing that has lasted.

I have found good christian community very hard to find. Building relationships can be hard work. Three years ago when looking for a new church I remember visiting a couple of churches and thinking: “These seem like nice people here. I don’t know any of them. I don’t know that I have the energy to start from scratch all over again.”

We did land in a church. We did become part of a small group. It has taken three years for me to feel like this is becoming home. What has helped has been the participation in a small group. In the last couple of weeks there have been some really good interactions where members seem to be feeling increasingly free to ask tough questions that would not be sanctioned in many groups I have been a part of. I remember thinking this week, “Wow, in other places I have been in the past, these would have been shut down with pat answers.” It felt wonderful to hear the questions and responses that group members had for each other. For that I am thankful.

I sure do wish that good communities where people were accepted as they are were easier to find. I wish that good communities where people could be honest with each other were easier to find. Perhaps then fewer people would be finding their way into the wilderness.

As usual your thoughts and comments are welcome.