The greatness of community

I know Jenny and I are extroverts - we get energized by being around people. Anyone who has had us over for dinner knows it's very difficult to get us to leave. We try, but we just love being around people. That being said, I know that some people get worn out by being in large groups but they do it anyway (say, at church) because they know it's good not to be a hermit.

We have had the wonderful opportunity to see so many people while we are here in the US. People we know and who know us. People who speak our language and love our kids. People with whom we used to share community. And they are so important to us - so much so that we feel like we have been cut off from a part of our own bodies while we have been away. And it feels amazing to re-connect.

We can talk to people and e-mail and even chat over video - but all of those things are substitutes for actually talking to a person. Being close enough to hug them or slap them on the back when they tell a joke. Close enough to see wrinkles and blemishes - the things that remind us of our shared humanity. Tons of books have been written on the importance of community and how leaders can foster it in the workplace and at church. But it can never be faked. I know there are 'online communities' but these to me are impostors, having the skeleton but lacking the substance of real people interaction.

And I like real people. People with band-aids and bad breath and worn out stories. People who talk and laugh and live life together. There's no counterfeit for real people. And I'm really glad that I get to see and hug and touch real people all the time.

I'm sure it seems funny for me to write this on a blog, an online community. But I don't think these communities are bad, just poor substitutes for reality. And substitutes are just that - not the real thing.

Enjoy people today. Even those annoying ones who take 14 items into the 10 items or less lane at the grocery store. Maybe they just need a little community. Or they can't read. Either way, see how you can enjoy these folks with whom we share our world.


Sarah said...

We are so glad to have been able to get to know you guys while we were in Dallas, I absolutely love your personalities!!! We can not wait to be part of your "community" in Guatemala! I hope we do not end up living that far apart.

mutating missionary said...

I so agree, and yet, as I was reminded today by a CBC member - (i'm a bit homesick) our community is who God placed us with at this moment - and today, mine is a German community. Speaking German, eating German food, making mistakes, and loving each other in the midst of them.
But, I must admit - i Miss my kids, my friends, and my community stateside!

Steven said...

"because they know it's good not to be a hermit."


Says you, you Hermitophobe.