When our community disintegrated, the fallout was a long, slow drop. Pieces of what I thought would be slipped away.
When our community disintegrated, the place where growth & learning, where kids could grow collapsed into itself. We had put our nose to the job of service in community, because there is a spine of spiritual growth we found there. We tried to fit in amidst some of the hardest days we have breathed. When trauma assailed our family, we came without facade or ability to show our best selves. We repeated our presence in every state of mind on regular intervals, always wondering if this was our community, but then sure of course it was, because, we were present-so it must be.
When our community disintegrated along the lines of righteousness, those who said “this is not right,” added the caveat “and we cannot be with people who think it is ok,”. The gaping door waited patiently as families left the building into the filtering light. Weather offered cold shelter welcoming a heaping portion of men and women that had lifted voices and hearts. Families that had welcomed and cared for my children. Those who remained stood on their convictions of what was right, but it was a bit empty without the kids around.
When our community disintegrated, the process looked not much of what I thought I knew about Christ. The “Welcome!” sign remained out front (and it was not outwardly qualified by exceptions).
When our community disintegrated, it was hard not to recall church elders who shushed me in the only time they addressed me. Maybe the fit wasn’t good– maybe we valued different things. After trials, my spontaneous tsunami feelings were distasteful from too much pain, it made others uncomfortable. My enthusiasm strange and concerning. My awkwardness painful, and my ironic humor indicted my character as snarky or sarcastic. Oh, to feel like an outsider in church, don’t most people?
When our community disintegrated my main concern was (and is) the impressionable ones close to me–children are the most pressing reasons for community.
Now, no one minds the pancakes on Sunday mornings. None of us mind the late morning prayersnugglereading. The extra time together, the conversations, games played and the art we create together.
When our community disintegrated, my own fatigue caught up with me. Thirty plus years of trying to fit in, or ignore the lack of it. My own voice lifts in prayer and asks “Why the relentless hunger for the feast of community?”. All that can be done is readjust expectations and pray that the desire to try again will catch up with the sense of obedience, though it isn’t a very rushed obedience.
When our community disintegrated, it might have been the best thing that happened. The maker and orchestrator of creation has my babes, and though I was not raised in faith (which might have been a good thing from what I hear), I persevere in speaking of the Love that wraps itself around us in our lives, if we wish it.
Maybe I too can be a welcomer, a listener, an encourager, a creator of community, perhaps a healed community.
This series is in response to a Quaker meeting split in 2017 along the lines of whether gay marriage would be affirmed or not. The aftermath of this event has caused grief, anger and an abundance of thoughts and feelings on the parts of many in this community.
This series evaluates, frames and processes this event and its slow fallout.