A Gesture of Hope

Nothing is sweet or easy about community. Community is a fellowship of people who do not hide their joys and sorrows but make them visible to each other in a gesture of hope. In community we say," Life is full of gains and losses, joys and sorrows, ups and downs- but we do not have to do it alone. We want to drink our cup together and thus celebrate the truth that the wounds of our individual lives, which seem intolerable when lived alone, become sources of healing when we live them as part of a fellowship of mutual care."

-Henry Nouwen

I stumbled across this quote today and fell in love with it. In our individualistic society, we often shun community because we think we can do everything ourselves. So every evening, we escape into our places of refuge and lock the doors. We don't know our neighbors and sometimes we don't even know our friends.

I will admit to you that I am one of the worst offenders. It's really hard for me to connect with people sometimes. One, because I'm so awkward and often uncomfortable in my own skin. I feel like people won't really like the person that they get to know. Second, when I invite others to live life together with me, they see my vulnerabilities. And then I am found out, unmasked, transparent. In this case, it's good for me to remind myself that none of us have it all together, ever. And in the realization of that, there is freedom.

The truth is, I know that I need others. We all do. God created us to laugh with each other and to cry with each other. He created us to challenge one another and to confess our failings to one another. Too often I find myself concealing weakness or minimizing hurt. And I assume that I'm not alone in my guise of perfection.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is this - call me to community. Yeah, I need tons of alone time, but I also need others. And if we get together, I'll look past your inadequacies if you can pretend you don't see all the clutter in my living room, that annoying eye twitter of mine, or the fact that I can rarely piece two legitimate sentences together these days.

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