Her little legs barely reached over the old carpet that had been rolled up and was sitting on the side of the street. Nonetheless, it was the perfect vantage point to observe the loading of the truck and so she sat and she watched. Her family was moving from their small town home to a home just outside of the big city.
She knew these things were happening, but was too little to truly understand them. It would be in her new home that she would begin to learn some important lessons about community.
The new home brought endless opportunities for exploration. The little girl started preschool, learned how to pedal her tricycle without falling off and welcomed a little brown puppy with eagerness and delight. She took great pride in growing the biggest watermelon in her family’s garden and she learned that the wild flowers that grew on the side of the hill made a nice mid-afternoon snack.
These opportunities were wonderful, but the lessons that would affect her for the rest of her life happened inside the house on the hill. During the cold winter months, the upstairs playroom became magical. Every bit of free time would find the little girl and her two sisters creating magnificent worlds, dressing up in their mother’s discarded clothes, learning to play in a way that would captivate them and would result in early morning play dates for years to come.
The three girls became the best of friends. The beloved school they attended was on the other side of town- along with all of their classmates. The street they lived on was inhabited by older neighbors who didn’t seem to have any grandchildren. The church just down the hill where their daddy was the pastor was also lacking in the children’s area. The pastor’s kids were the only ones in Sunday school most weeks.
Friendship between the sisters was inevitable. The circumstances in which the three girls found themselves forced them to play with one another- or not have any friends. They learned to appreciate each other- regardless of age difference and varying temperaments. They learned to make the most of every opportunity- discovering that contentment could be found if it was sought.
My sisters taught me that community is worth pursuing. Loving those around you is worth the effort.
Through them, I learned that community is not always easy. We are all different and sometimes those differences will result in frustration and fighting and disappointment. But when you are committed to community, you will learn to celebrate differences rather than run from them.
They taught me not to wait until the perfect friend or the perfect church or the perfect situation comes along, but to find contentment in and make the most of every situation God brings my way. Rather than waiting for others to offer community, I have learned to seek it.
So, why community? Because life is richer and fuller and deeper when we pursue others, when we seek to be family to those who God brings our way and when we realize that life is not meant to be lived alone.
One of my favorite parts of blogging is the community of writers I have been privileged to meet and share life with. A new community is growing at Kirsten Oliphant’s blog with her Not So Small Stories link up. I appreciate the generosity of writers as we read each other’s stories, encouraging and challenging one another along the way.
How have you been blessed by community? Do you find it difficult to pursue community?