I so badly want “community.” I want a meal delivered with extended arms on bad days. I want heartfelt calls when things go wrong. I want friends to walk straight through my unlocked door as I wait with a plate of cookies. I want known faces to pull up on moving day. I want gatherings of people, smiling at the sound of loud laughs. I want both my tears and my joys to be tenderly held. I want to encourage another to astounding new heights. I want to love and be loved within a community that cares—that endures.
I don’t have that—but the idea thrills me. It thrills many of us. In fact, we crave it. We look for it. We desire it, but we often miss it altogether.
Settling for Less
Community is like a missing puzzle piece in our lives. We know it should complete a beautiful picture, but we have no idea how to find it. We understand it’s valuable and irreplaceable in the grand scheme of things, but it’s gotten lost in the shuffle. We say we want to find it, but we don’t feel like pulling out all the junk in order to recover it. Why? Because we know that community can get messy.
So, we go along our way, hoping it will some day easily turn up without much effort on our parts. We dream of the finished product—of friends, fellowship, and fun—but we resign ourselves to a partial picture, lacking both community and completion.
We settle for pseudo-community that offers a quick hello and a quick goodbye. It doesn’t have time to listen to pain. It allows a messy living room to take priority over sharing messy lives. It puts individual needs above the needs of others.1