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.