It takes a long time to feel a sense of community. And it can go away in what seems like an instant. Not because of wind and storm in a funnel cloud – Joplin proves that. But because of attitude.
If I don’t make the effort to stay connected – to my friends, to my church members, to my family and co-workers, that feeling of community can be gone before I realize I’m drifting away.
I went for a drive before the rains of the last week began, and found a physical community that takes my breath away.
It is so simple in its structure that it stuns me with beauty.
I know a woman who lives out here. Through her I know this is a place of community – people connected to each other through generations of work on the land. Families who sit together in the 100 year old Community Church on Sundays, wave to each other as they travel the dirt roads in cars, tractors, and four wheelers, meet at the Volunteer Fire Hall, and watch the beauty of God unfold as the seasons change – winter to spring when I was there.
Strangers are recognized right away – and welcomed with that same friendly wave. A chance for a visitor to be a part of community – even just for an hour before heading off to the someplace else of their everyday life.
Is my everyday life filled with community? Do I have a place where I am of one heart and one mind with those around me? (Acts 4:32)
Is my heart available to those in need? Am I connected enough to know my neighbors needs and have the motivation to help meet them?
Hard questions, and while there are times when my answers are in line with the words of my faith, there are also times where I have to admit that I fall short. I fail to comfort those who mourn. Fail to be gentle. Fail to show mercy. Fail to be a peacemaker. Failed to create and nurture community.
Community takes effort. It takes the love of Christ to recognize each image bearer as a child of God, a brother or sister. It requires me to see people as they are – a gift from God enriching my life.
Speaking of gifts, here are some of mine over the past week:
337. Great Horned Owl nest along the road to school.
338. Hope for a new job for a friend.
339. Successful fundraiser.
340. income from the rock helping the ministry of the rock.
341. Hip hardware for a triathlon.
342. No wind.
343. Peace with the weather.
344. Cuddling with J.
345. Tulips from a friend.
346. Help with moving tables.
347. Child’s eye unharmed by a spurt of adhesive.
348. Leo’s sighs from his pillow.
349. One week without mice in the house.
350. Smiling babies.
351. Caring teachers.
352. Three-hour lunch as a form of work.
353. Flowers in a bucket.
354. Pease ready to transplant.
355. Green hills backed by snowy mountains.
356. Beautiful cakes with real roses.
357. Stunning Senior photos.
358. The role of adventure in a boy’s life.
359. My boy’s voice heard amongst the crowd in the school hallways.