In the blog Don’t Parent Alone, I talk about my parents and the community I grew up around. My parents showed me that community is essential to a deep understanding of the gospel.
And community feels, I don’t know what the word is, complicated? Complex? Hard to find? Hard to maintain? Hard to talk about? All of the above?
And maybe all these things are true, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth pursuing and investing in.
So here are two things I’ve learned about community. Maybe these things are also in the blogged linked, but they are worth mentioning again:
You Were Made for Community
Even if you are the most introverted introvert to walk this planet. There are too many scriptures about how we are to operate within community to make the case that community is just for extraverts.
We are called to unity and togetherness. We are called to serve one another sacrificially. We are called to be a witness to the world through how we love each other. We are called to bear each other’s burdens and do good to each other. We are meant to do life together.
If You Feel Like You Aren’t Finding Community, Start The Work of Cultivating Community
Sometimes I wish there was a solid “dating” app for friendship and community. Wouldn’t that be nice? You move to a new place and you hop on to swipe for friends, and you can find people with the same values who like the same Mexican restaurant as you and are in the same season of life.
Wait, that is a good idea. TRADEMARK. I CALL TRADEMARK! So, with that product forthcoming, while you wait on it to launch, you may have to put in some work. It’s a long game too.
But you can create and cultivate community wherever you are, no matter what your space looks like. Make the tacos and invite your neighbors over for dinner. Ask the mom you’ve talked to at the park when she’ll be back and if you’d want to meet there again.
And I know it can feel awkward, and I know that life is crazy and you go from one thing to the next. You’re bound by a nap schedule and work calls and ballet lessons (All by the way hold potential for community. Maybe not the nap time I guess).
I know it is hard and you worry about how clean your bathroom is and how small your kitchen table is. But just think about it. If you are craving community, and someone invites you over for tacos and a chat…do YOU care about their bathroom? Do you care if their kitchen table is small? I’ll venture to say no. You care that you were invited and included and they made you and your family feel seen.
We were invited to our neighbor’s house a couple of months ago. All we did was sit under their carport and eat Nacho Cheese Bugles while the kids played, and we talked for hours. The next hang out they came to our house and ended up sitting on our living room floor with the kids on the back porch eating pigs in a blanket. And again we talked for hours.
Community is hard, but that doesn’t mean the things that foster it have to be complicated. See people. Hear their stories. Feed them.
Maybe the secret to community is, indeed, snacks. So buy the Bugles and invite people in. If you need it, others need it too. You are not alone, and maybe one invitation from you could make someone else realize that they are not alone either.