Community. I feel like I’ve missed out on ‘it’. A place that is comfort and familiar. Because being there is belonging there.
When I was very young I was living in the “city”. I went to school there. I went to church there. Then on the weekends my father packed us up and took us to “the farm”. The country. It was beautiful in it’s setting. For many years we spent the weekends without interaction with the community that surrounded us. We were “camping”. We were “roughing it” in an isolated homestead of our ancestry.
I loved the place. I loved the history. Maybe for many years I liked the privacy of it. It felt like a play land. A world hidden from real life.
Over the years I realized I was living a split life. Though the impact of this didn’t hit me until many years later. My life in the city was limited to days in school. I didn’t participate in life on the weekends. Get together with friends. Life outside of school. And my life in the country was focused on the activity of getting there, settling in, play and a lot of work, then packing up and returning for the city life’s chores once again.
Since that constant move of childhood I have felt very unsettled. Very unsure of my place in life. I haven’t found the community I have admired when I see others come together. I haven’t found the connection to my Walnut Grove or my Northern Exposure, or the small churches I see all over the country side. I haven’t found Norm’s seat in Cheers.
Today I had a bit of an epiphany.
I found myself crying today thinking about the community I saw the other day. When I sat on the front steps of my sister in laws home and watched as community poured it’s self in to the grief of a family. From where I sat I listened as one of my sisters in law told me who everyone was that I didn’t know amongst the faces of those I did. The stranger who heard the news and arrived to ask permission to make food for the family. The young people who showed up to stand with their friends who are shocked at the loss of their father, their quiet support filled me with such emotion. The farmers who offered to come in and finish the hay. The sister who watched over her sister like a hawk, to protect, to shield, to get her a Mountain Dew. The constant flow of people, from work, from church, from school, from family who showed up to offer help. Or to just be close, because they didn’t know what to do.
Suddenly today as I thought of all of this it occurred to me…. I have my community I learned.
Though I have floundered in life feeling not of a place, I have community, in the love of the people who love me. As I sat on that porch it occurred to me that this place did not create the people who showed up to support a family. It was the love and respect they had for a man, his wife, his sons, his parents, his siblings, his friends. Each of those who showed up, and will show up these next couple of days, come from all over. Yet their community, their place with this man and his family, is not a place at all. It’s a feeling. A feeling created by growing up together, working together, playing together, loving together.
Community, the gathering of love to support. The gathering of love to celebrate. The gathering.
As these days approach, and pass us by, I will sit and absorb the community of this man and his family. In the comfort and familiar of love and fellowship.