I started to write a post on hope the other day and it fizzled in my draft folder. I went back to re-examine it today to see if I could breathe in some new life and it occurred to me why it had so difficult. I usually get blocked when I’m writing about something near to my heart but not being really honest with myself .
I was talking about the hope of finding a community group… and how hard it was to find true community, like a family,
especially even within the church. It seems for the most part that non-Christians sometimes get the whole “community” idea better than Christians who want to meet for a bible study once a week and then not have interaction during the week because they are busy and their “community” cup is already filled. Does that make sense? Sometimes our social circle is great– we enjoy our times but our soul years for more than a play date or work-out so we turn to our church and find a bible study. At that point, if we are lucky, we connect with a group and enjoy the benefits of a biblical community where we grow and share our lives.
But then life happens. Children are born and the schedule changes, expectations aren’t met, or personalities clash. Life is imperfect, very BUSY and having that community becomes less important as we busy ourselves with life and our friends… am I crazy to go as far as to say that perhaps having the holy spirit inside us gives us a completeness that makes us sometimes excuse having Christian fellowship? To be clear here, I’m guilty of everything I’m saying. This isn’t accusing anyone- I’ve realized that I’m the first in line with excuses why a community group isn’t right for us right now.
…and I realized that I love to pray about finding a group but I’m scared to jump out there and do it.
Then there’s Bear. It’s like I’m scared… or annoyed… or just not ready to let a bunch of strangers into one of the most intimate areas of my life. I can talk about a lot of things, deeply personal things but it’s different with him. He is this special part of me with a huge chunk of my heart. I feel fiercely protective of him. And it’s not just him. I don’t want to make other people uncomfortable. People get “that look” when I tell him about his diagnosis and they don’t know what to say and I hate making them feel that way. Then, inevitably, when people hear we are gluten free someone will apologize to me for bringing something with gluten products to the dinner (we are used to avoiding gluten, it’s not a big deal at all!) … or when my children accidentally get a piece of something containing gluten other people will feel way more bad than they should… and it’s so hard to try to make everyone around me more comfortable and I lose myself in the effort of maintaining the delicate balancing act. I feel like I need to write a script out- how to respond to people when they feel bad or awkward. Which is HARD and really keeps community from happening.
Maybe on some level I’m still uncomfortable having a special needs child. Saying that makes me cringe inside screaming it’s not true– but it’s a fair thing to ponder. Of course it’s so much easier to just say I’m great, and most of the time I am great, but occasionally I’m in situations where I don’t know what to feel, say or do. Maybe it’ll get easier because I am growing and changing at almost as rapid of a pace that Bear is so there is no way to even predict how I’ll feel in a few more years- when my challenges are different and probably more difficult than making someone feel comfortable around us.
I’ve lowered my hopes to keep myself safe, but life is not about shielding myself from potential pain or discomfort. I want to be challenged. I want to live life to the fullest and not pull back into my safety zone, which is SO MUCH EASIER. So, we will see. I want to stop making excuses and just step out there in faith that community will happen, and even if it IS awkward in the beginning… eventually it’ll be worth it.
(PS. Thanks to my family reunion for providing “Community” pictures!)