Friday night was one of those nights I sat there in awe wondering, “how can I be so blessed?” Like many people my age, I don’t have family closer than 3.5 hours away and am not married. That means that my life could be pretty lonely. It means that I could feel like I have no one to call in an emergency. But as I sat in my home Friday night and looked around, I was overwhelmed with the very fact that my friends are my family here in Chicagoland. That at any point if crisis or need I could call on a number of them and I know they would be there.
My church Small Group’s Halloween party
In today’s society we want everything instant and we often shy away from deep. Deep means you risk the chance of getting hurt. Deep means that people won’t always see that perfect selfie, but rather people may see the tear-stained face that comes after a pretty tough couple of weeks. Deep means that your answer to the question “How are you?” isn’t always, “I’m good.” Rather at times, you can look at someone and honestly say, “you know, it kind of sucks at this moment.”
In the past several months, I have been digging through my past and sorting through who I am presently. What are my passions? My gifts? What makes me who I am? Why do I have such deep passions in certain areas? One of those areas is community. As I’ve thought through it I can pinpoint the year of my life when community became something deep in my soul that I would strive to make real.
This pivotal time came when I was at the ripe age of 10. I was in a small private school with 26 in my total grade. For some reason unknown, I was the kid they decided to exclude. I had no one. Not a single soul in my class I could trust. I had no community. And at the 28 I can truly say that I am so beyond thankful for that tough year of my life because it is what dug deep one of the deepest desires of my heart to create true community.
I could spend hours writing about the incredible friends in my life both near and far, but now I’m going to focus on one. I walked into this small group in January in an incredibly hard season of my life and following one of the worst weeks I have ever had. My life has forever been changed for the better.
Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. we meet to discuss life, faith, and so much more. We dig deep. We struggle. We ask hard questions. We get real with each other. And I walk out of that room after spending two hours with those people refreshed and ready to face a new week, but our times together don’t just stop there. It is rare that a few days pass without a group text going about something. Sometimes serious and other times funny. Some Sundays we gather around a meal together to enjoy each other’s companies. On more than one occasion we share a piñata battle together. We love all things bacon. But most important, we love each other and know each other.
Community. Why do we run from it? Because it is scary to be real. It is terrifying to know that we have the possibility to be hurt. It takes time and effort. But when relationships go beyond surface and go to the deep where we will walk through the trenches together, it makes life so much easier, especially when there is hurt.
So here is my challenge so the young adults out there, to be real. To seek out community. To put in the time and effort. And to risk being real. Because trust me when I say, community is one of the greatest gifts on this earth. It doesn’t mean you won’t get hurt. It doesn’t mean you may have a few misses before you find that community that feels like family. But it’s worth it – so worth it.
Life isn’t meant to be walked alone. Life isn’t meant to be walked in perfection. It’s mean to be real, messy, and along-side each other through the laughter and the ugly cries.