September 24, 2012

musings on community

Not the TV show. Although while up in Mass, our dear friends introduced it to us and we love it.

But this is more about real community. Real life people in the flesh - not even Facebook community. Will and I have been "living" in PA now for almost four months and it's time we start analyzing what this community thing will look like in our lives. It's hard to believe we've been here so long because, well, we've barely been here. But I've been having conversations with various friends lately about the role community needs to play in our lives, and ultimately, a church family.

I'm struggling with the thought of embracing a new church family. Or even the idea of making new friends. Is that ridiculous? I've moved, and maybe I have to accept that, but in my mind - I already have my friends. I'm not really looking for more. I am so blessed to have one of these dearest friends living less than a half hour away now and another 40 minutes away, but that's it - and it's not close enough. And the rest are back up in Massachusetts.

One of the reasons this might be so tough for me is that I once lived in an intentional community with thirteen other people... three years ago! Whoa. Has it been that long, guys? We cooked meals together, grocery shopped together, read the Word together, turned our kitchen into a Starbucks and did homework together, sled down the stairs on mattresses together. It was quite literally, ideal.

I fear now that I have such a high standard for community in my life because these people changed mine forever. These people are my truest friends because we've gone through so much together: many break-ups, graduating, and now four weddings in the group - these friends are the only community I want. They've ruined me :)

The problem I have now is this: another one among us got married last weekend up in Massachusetts, and like I said in my last post, I knew that wedding was going to hold so much joy - obviously because of the two lives joining, but also because we were reunited with that community. And I was on cloud nine the entire weekend. A bunch of us got together on Saturday night and my throat was sore with laughter. We all talked about living together once again and fought about where we'd be located. Emily and I were, of course, making a strong case for Pennsylvania.

I was already having a tough time coming around to the idea of new community, but after being around them all again, I fear I have dug my heels in even deeper. What do you think God calls us to concerning community? Is it a "grow where you're planted" sort of thing, or can you take on the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" attitude..?

I think that God has given us all gifts to share with one another, and that His plan would be that the church (the greater church - His people) gather together and share of themselves to help each other grow. So I know that means we obviously need to find a church down here (which we've started to research), but that probably also means more than just showing up on Sunday mornings. It probably means joining small groups and ministries and starting all over from scratch. Which to be honest, is a completely exhausting thought.

I already have at least 8-10 people who know everything about me. All of my dirt, my shame, my sins, my shortcomings, where I find joy. Is it wrong to just want to keep it at that - even states away? I was praying today that God would convict me if this attitude is selfish or short-sighted in His greater plan. But any thoughts that this community can share about new friends or how you've dealt with a move would be greatly appreciated.

It's been a while since I've done one of these, but I definitely have another gift to share:

The joy experienced in a true community and the 
blessing of such dear friends that stand the test of time and space.


  1. Emily G9/24/2012

    Girl, you have put words to what I feel too. Which is why I'm moving in. Tomorrow.

  2. I completely agree with the "throat hoarse with laughter". I really enjoyed that evening. It moved so quickly beyond "so, what are you up to now?" towards sharing and creating memories. The inside jokes were great, the wit abounded. I am also so blessed to be counted among this group.

    so...when are you and will moving in?

  3. So let me get this straight - Em is moving in with me and Will, and Rob wants all three of us to move up to MA. Typical :) Let the record show that we have a sizable guest bedroom for whoever wants it! And Rob, I agree about the depth of that night. It was so unbelievably fulfilling.

  4. This is the best post ever. I love it. And I'm all for you guys moving even closer to me than 40 minutes away. Or at least let's get together soon. Because I absolutely need to have some sense of Gordon community. Or people just need to keep getting married so we can keep getting together. Please and thank you.

  5. Also, remember when we all blogged together for a summer? Best. Blog. Ever.

  6. hey, i forget how i stumbled upon your blog, but i used to go to gordon too, and this post really resonated with me! although i didn't change states, i did change churches when i got married, and that felt like the same loss of community that you described in leaving close friends states away. i had gone to the same church since i was born, played on the worship team during high school (and on breaks when i was home from gordon!), knew almost everyone, and had tight-knit friendships with people i went on missions trips and retreats i know exactly what you mean when you say the mere thought starting over sounds exhausting. not sure i have any suggestions, but this past sunday, two couples introduced themselves. and thats a start. so just know you aren't alone in the search for true community :)

  7. I think your fear is that if you make new friends you will REPLACE your old ones, that is NOT TRUE. You will just become someone who has best friends all over the States (even world) which makes travel easier/ cheaper! DO you want to LIVE for those reunions and just "get by" until one of your friends gets married again? Or do you want to pursue something in your new home - maybe there are young couples who need you. who also need community because they just moved there OR they have never experienced it. I know it is hard to find "a new group" but do you really think there are only 15 people in the world you can relate to? I am afraid you will miss out on another different but GREAT community and friendships if you settle for one weekend every year.
    be brave.
    and reap the rewards!

  8. AND i know how you feel. I was forced to learn this a long time ago when I moved out of state to college and spent summers in Colorado. I was beginning to have great community everywhere. Your friends will always be your friends. My college friends (I went to a private Christian collage too) are still my friends! We fly all over the WORLD to go to each others weddings. My camp friends are still my camp friends. We fly all over the WORLD to go to each others weddings. DO you see? You wont lose them. You will just make the most of this place God has called you too.
    BEST NEWS: no matter what, you will all see each other again. and all your friends will know each other deeply - even your friends that never met each other. That is what Heaven will be like. and maybe some of your friends will be there with you because you stepped out in a new town and tried to make a community. I am so excited for you.


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