On Community

Community looks a lot different for many of us these days. These days, the vast majority of US states have Stay-in-Place orders, not to mention even before those orders began, there were limitations on how many people could gather together. Churches went digital. Restaurants closed. The world seemed to shut down, and people were sent to their corners for universal timeout.

Yet, even before all this began, community meant something different, something unique, to each person. They say loneliness is on the rise, and that connection is at an all-time low. They blame the digital age for much of this, saying we give our time to scrolling social media rather than getting together with friends. Many of us share only the highlights, which in itself is isolating, because who can connect with someone who never struggles the same way you do? And we pull back, and we isolate further, and we post our own highlight reels, and we build our little bubbles that look so perfect to the outside world, but inside we’re aching with loneliness and knowledge of our own messy imperfection that we daren’t share.

Wanna know a secret?

My life doesn’t look all that different these days.

My community has been “a little different” for a while. My best friends in the whole world don’t even live in the same state as I do anymore. One of them never did.

And this virus has only served to reinforce our bond. We’ve started using a video messenger app to record messages to each other, and it’s been wonderful to see their faces. It’s also been new and different to see their faces. We usually communicate in writing, on various messaging platforms, and by tagging each other in Instagram memes.

I used to feel a little ashamed, a little bit less-than. Doesn’t everyone have a huge friendship circle they can spend time with in-person? It’s certainly been stressed to me that I should. That I was less-than if I didn’t. That there was something wrong with me. That I wasn’t living up to what God wanted of me.

The human heart craves connection more than almost anything. One thing this quarantine has stressed to me is this: I already have connection. And it is not less-than.

In fact, you might even say it is immeasurably more.

Do you suffer from decision paralyzation, too?

I was having some Deep Shower Thoughts this morning and was realizing that a good part of what holds me in place is the fact that, despite my desire to be all things to all people, I am crushed beneath the knowledge that I never can be. Hence I never start, and never try because of the certain knowledge of failure. Good intentions are all very well, but until we’re able to hop down from the pedestal that we imagine we are on to other people, we won’t ever be able to truly relate to anyone.

When it comes down to it, I would rather relate than instruct. Yet my brain tells me if I can’t instruct, I’m worthless as a writer. My heart tells me to connect, because my worth is intrinsic.

I’m following my heart in this.

(boy, does that feel weird to say! 😆)