The truth about “reality” is that it is not always as it appears. There is usually something lurking under the surface. And either we have hidden it there out of self-preservation or perhaps we are not even aware of its existence until someone comes along & dares to risk the depths and what they may harbor. Like our true selves and our struggles.
And, lucky you, I’m not so good at pretending. That everything is peaceful & perfect. For instance, to take this picture I happen to be standing upon some of the slimiest mud and moss covered rocks you have ever seen. And more than once, I slipped and almost busted my tail & my camera. But the picture sure is purty, right? Kinda like the lives we display, and the statuses we update, and sometimes even the blogs we write.
Yesterday’s post is both real and true. And it isn’t. At all. At least not in the impression that it gave that I am somehow fully participating in this amazing community in which my girls play and live. Because days can go by without me talking to another adult human being (other than sweet hubby) except maybe to exchange pleasantries or comment on the weather. And sometimes I am crushed by the silence that I suffer in suburbia. And I wonder if you ever feel that way too? And, if I am really honest, a part of me is afraid that you don’t. Because, what if I am the only one after all?
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am blessed and ever so grateful for the help & support that I get in loving and raising my littles, but sometimes a girl just needs to talk to a friend. A fellow worker. In the trenches. Face to face. For more than a few minutes once a month, that is, if we can get it scheduled far enough in advance. (Which, more often than not, doesn’t happen. And what makes me doubt that people will have time to visit us in the country). Scratch that. I would take a few minutes every day as we labored together in our responsibilities as wives, mothers, friends, and daughters. Like this. Or like the day I spent two hours with my sister working a burn pile that we were concerned might get out of hand in the wind. Hard work & so stinkin’ hot. And my best day in a long time even though I had a list of things I “should” have been doing instead. But I get ahead of myself.
And I can’t help but think of what we could learn from the way children (and the impoverished) live and what we have lost as a culture over the years in the name of “progress.” And for the sake of appearances.
When I think of my girls and the people that they love deeply (and why), I am reminded of the characteristics of community that Randy Frazee wrote about in The Connecting Church: “spontaneity, availability, frequency, common meals and proximity.” And I am deeply saddened to realize that we have all signed our names to a different list of rules for living: every minute of every day planned out, overbooked schedules filled with activities taking us hither, thither and yon, once a month coffee (if we are lucky), eating in isolation (even from our own family members) and working & going to school & attending church miles and miles from where we live and away from the people with whom we should be sharing life. And I grieve the death of the neighborhood church, the neighborhood school and the local market. And I wonder how we will ever thrive without them. And, even more importantly, how we will ever survive without each other.
But more on all that next time as we begin to unpack what it means to live in real community. The ache of my soul.
Would love it if you weighed in on your own struggles with & triumphs over loneliness. And your thoughts on & experiences with community.
And if you would like a visual of what community “looks like,” please check out the instagram feed of my beloved friend Sarah of Snappy Apple Photography. She is living the dream, but if you read into her story you will understand that you are looking at beauty from ashes, literally. And the amazing power of the blood of Christ to bring restoration, healing and unity. Community.