Friday, November 7, 2008

Creating Community

Last night I talked to Rachel-- a very dear friend who just relocated with her partner to Seattle. We caught up about family stuff, health stuff, and eventually landed on the topic of community. Community and communal living is a passion, and my own powerful experience of community in Boston set the bar very high for creating a similar community of faith wherever I may go. But, Rachel and I both agreed that finding community is hard. It is a challenge to find a group of people who share a vision of caring for the least among us, simple living, and intentional community. And once you find such a group, it's difficult to make that community more meaningful than just a group of like minded, similarly-situated individuals sharing dinner. And when the lifestyle of a 20-something often leads to relocating every few years, that difficulty is compounded by the instability of our communities once we do establish them. I have myself sometimes thought, "What's the point?" That seems to be the conclusion that so many of us have come to.

Here in Virginia, finding community has been both easy and hard. Since we moved into an area filled with family, old friends, and connections, we never really felt as isolated and lonely as we did when we first moved to Boston. We are blessed to have many family members that are on our wavelength when it comes to striving to live meaningfully as Christians. And we've connected with a lot of families with young children in our neighborhood who we are thrilled to share the parent part of our personalities with. However, I feel like our sense of belonging here has made it easy for us to become complacent in searching out a deep, diverse community. Searching for community is almost easier when you do feel that sense of isolation than it is when you're overall pretty content with your life as is.

I'm left wondering what my ideal community would be like, what it would feel like. I always think of the early Christians who had all things in common, sharing all aspects of their lives, despite the many differences between them, and think, "Wow." And yet, I also think, "How on earth did they do that?" So here's to the hope of finding new community in new cities, in unexpected places, and through deeper relationships.

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