Thursday, July 21, 2011

a time to build

When my grandfather was young his family lived in Alabama, and the way my dad tells the story is that the mosquitos were so bad there that even the animals on the farm couldn't stand it, and so the community broke down the church, loaded it on a train, and everyone moved their families to Oklahoma to live together there.

Can you imagine a group of people so committed to each other, so dependent on one another, that they would move everything to stay together?  Was there conflict?  Did some people's children drive everybody nuts?

Community has been on my mind a lot lately.  Reading Wendell Berry has exposed this raw place in me that aches for it.  It seems so rare in our culture, we are so lost, so transient, so lonely.  People move and shift and back away and close their doors.

I don't have much time today- minutes only- but I wanted to quickly write about a conversation Jim and I had recently, about our need for community and what we are going to do about it.  We moved recently, and nearly all the friends and family have at some point moved somewhere, so that we all are scattered all over the globe.  Jim and I began to list the people who we feel this pull for, this deep abiding care because of the ways that our souls have mingled at some point in our life . . . the people who we are better, stronger, kinder, more alive having shared life with them whether the time was brief or great . . .

We made a list of those people and decided that we will commit to them, specifically remember them, encourage them; we will find ways to cross the distance or busyness of life to be with them as often as we can.   Wherever we live, they will be our community.

This is a significant list for us, and especially now I am opening my eyes to see how I have neglected people, in the last six years of being a mom.  My world became so full that it was all I could see, and now I realize that my world has become small, that I have been lazy with some of the relationships that I love most.   I miss them- there is this gaping hole in my life without them.  I wish that I could rebuild life alongside them- but I can't, but there are things I can do.

And this is all very unedited and unpolished . . . but it is what is spilling out of my heart . . . and I have to be finished and publish because I have bags to pack, cheeks to kiss. a plane to catch.  This weekend I am spending with two of my very best friends, life friends.  I hope that this weekend represents a new chapter, a fresh plot of ground to build upon and a new community we are living alongside, depending upon, however far apart our zip codes.


Anonymous said...

This is ali. I think google has been posting my comments as annonymous for awhile.

Anyway, I loved this. It is right where I am. I have been thinking of these very things and wanting to change them.

Thanks for posting and I hope you have a great weekend.

Misha Leigh. said...

This could make me cry - it's so beautiful. I love your heart and intentionality and I hope you have the most refreshing and beautiful time this weekend - I'll be thinking of you!

Shannon said...

amen! Praying your weekend is filled with lots of laughter, love and sleep! :) love you friend!

Amy said...

Love this post! I think about this subject a lot.

charrette said...

In a word, yes. I am a descendant of the Mormon pioneers, who literally took down their church, a portable tabernacle, and used the canvas to cover their wagons, and joined a wagon train on a trek out west. All so they could be together, worship in peace.

Today we feel that sense of community wherever we go, even traveling the globe, because of our faith...and probably those pioneer roots.

There is nothing quite like a church, and a shared sense of faith and mission, to shrink the world small enough to surround you with the kind of community that makes you kinder, wiser, deeper, stronger--forming bonds that last a lifetime, or longer.

I admit I'm not very good at keeping in touch either, but whenever I'm reunited with these amazing people, it's like there was never any time passed. That closeness returns faster than we can notice its absence.