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.