Last week the girls and I finished up our Bible study over a potluck meal. If you have to say goodbye, do it with pasta and dessert; this combo definitely helps the parting go down easier.
You know you have a good community when you don’t want to say goodbye to it. We started out as a group of women who had barely crossed paths, and now we’re friends. We may not stay in close proximity, but that’s ok. From now on, whenever we see each other, there will be a wide smile of recognition and the knowledge of a bond shared over the Word.
That’s the power of community. For years I didn’t know this power. I didn’t want to. Growing up as a self-reliant person, I preferred to do things on my own. I hated group projects in school because I could get a better grade if left to my own devices. I had friends but wasn’t particularly invested in them. By adulthood I was pretty sure I didn’t need people. Yes, they came in handy if one was bored on a Friday night, but NEED people? No way.
Guess what? Having two babies at once cured me of this thinking. When our family expanded from one child to three overnight, I needed community whether I wanted it or not. And our community came. Nobody stopped to analyze the quality of our friendship; no one wondered when we’d give back. It was simple: because I was part of their community, my friends and family stepped in.
In the children’s story “Stone Soup,” a traveler comes to a village and begins to boil a pot of water in the center of town. He throws in a stone. The villagers ask what he’s doing, and he says he’s making stone soup, and it will be the most delicious soup they’ve ever had. They stand around, puzzled, until one says, “I have some carrots that would be good in this soup,” while another says, “I have potatoes,” and pretty soon all the villagers have brought back gifts for the soup. And the traveler was right; it is the most delicious soup they’ve ever had.
That’s community, giving of ourselves, of what we have, so that all of us can share in it together. Sometimes it’s carrots. Sometimes it’s a listening ear or a well-timed word of encouragement. Sometimes it’s someone willing to hold your crying baby so you can rest your arms for a second. Hebrews 12:1 talks about a “great cloud of witnesses”, those who have gone before us in heaven, up there cheering us on. I tell you what, I don’t just have witnesses in heaven. I have the Tuesday morning Bible girls who have cheered me on for weeks now. I have church friends and life-path friends and family members who are cheering me on, who have encouraged me more than they can ever know. I have people I’m cheering too. For a woman who didn’t understand community, didn’t even want to, I’ve come a long way.
I hope you’ve found community too. If so, tell them how much they mean to you. And if you don’t haven’t found your people yet, trust God to provide and keep looking. Take it from me; they’re worth finding.
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