Thoughts on Community
"Community" is one of those words that can make me feel warm and cozy...wanted and comfortable and secure. I like community. I like the idea of having "unity with"other people. I like the sense of having a supportive group of friends around me. I like the idea of sharing costs for environmental care, for protection, for good parks and green spaces, for economic development, working for a corporate good.
But, as soon as I have that kind of community, I am reminded that true unity withother people has some other dynamics as well. I have some accountability and some responsibility to others. Sometimes that requires me to give up my warm, coziness and make a sacrifice of my own comfort or convenience, or do something for someone else, or compromise in some way. I have to show up; I need to be consistent; and I need to abide by some mutual understandings.
Sometimes...no, often....no all the time....I find to be disturbingly true what I learned once from author and educator Parker Palmer, who taught that the the truth of community is that the person you least want to be with is always there! He also said that there is a second truth of community, and that is when that person you least want to be with leaves your community...there will alwaysbe someone to immediately take their place!
"Community" exists within the tension of something "we can't live with and can't live without!" But somewhere in the midst ofthat tension bubbles up the most amazing reminders that it is grace that surrounds us and carries us!
Barbara Doerrer-Peacock is a pastor, artist and healer.