Some lessons we get to learn over and over….and over and over. This week I’ve had the same lesson 5 days… in a row: not only are you not alone, you need to be in community.
For me, this isn’t geographical community (although proximity is a consideration), but about places that are safe enough, respectful enough, open enough, to have conversations that we can’t have in other places. We risk something in opening up about our fears about aging; our concerns about developing children; about financial pressure. Where do you go to share the issues you have on your heart? With whom do you make your community?
I think it’s even truer when we are sharing the intimate details of our interior life, about our belief systems, sharing our questions about life and purpose and meaning. It’s been my experience that when I have drifted from my community that level of vulnerability, my sense of isolation, and so my questions, become monster-size, and threaten to overwhelm me. But, opening up about these topics that touch the core of our being makes us particularly vulnerable. We (I) don’t want to unzip our souls just anywhere; we want, we need, places where we know our story will be held with respect, and in confidence. Where do you go with the questions about meaning, purpose, valuing self, our place in the world, what happens when we die – those big spiritual questions?
Where do we go when our questions, or our answers are different? Where do you go? Community becomes even more important when we want to ask questions about what is on our heart, but we’re not sure the answers we are discovering are the “pat” answers, the ones we think “everyone” shares.
Even though I am well-rooted in the answers that have become true for me, I still feel vulnerable sharing them. I need to know there is a community that is safe and respectful, a soul-full community, which is willing to honour not only the process of asking questions so vital to this spiritual task, to this soul-work, but who are willing to listen when the answers I have discovered aren’t “the usual ones”. What would be important for you in creating a safe, respectful community?
So this week I have been reminded of the value of this kind of community. I have been truly blessed by being part of several, and varied, communities of support where asking the questions together is more important than arriving at one answer. It’s been life-giving water to a dry and parched heart. It’s bread to a soul who’s hungry. It’s oil for my lamp.
In these experiences of community – not necessarily of like-minded people but of pilgrims on the same road — I have been reminded I am not alone in asking, and that being part of that flow of seekers is part of what it is to be fully human. In these experiences of community I have encountered the Holy. Thank you, Friends.
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Thanks to jackdrawsanything.com for the picture!