Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Beauty of Community


I recently read an article by Peggy Omara on the Mothering website about the longing for community. I was so intrigued by her thoughts it made me think about this subject a little more. She said "as humans we perceive ourselves as part of a dyad before we perceive ourselves as individuals"... but yet we seem to think we need to do everything on our own. (I know I think that way sometimes.) We need community. We were created to live with people; we are not supposed to be alone.  Community= to be together in unity. There are so many communities to be a part of: our country, our state, our local town, our church, our family, our friends, online communities, and many other common interest communities.

So, we know community is important and that there are a ton of options, but how do we find it?I think of perfect community as finding that perfect friend that you share everything with including the exact same interests and morals. I have realized that I may be going in circles meeting new friends, touching the surface and moving on because I am not going to be exactly like one other person. We find it where we are. Finding community is going deeper with the people we are already with. Making a point to show up and see each other, really paying attention to what has heart and meaning, and always telling the truth with out judging. It does not matter what you have in common as long as you respect each other.

Often I wake up in the morning and have my day mostly planned out in my head, or at least what I know I need to get done around the house. If these things are not accomplished I feel like I have failed, my mind is cluttered, and sometimes my disappointment shows when my husband gets home...it's not much fun for him. I am realizing that life is short. It is not all about accomplishing  as much as possible, it is about being together and supporting each other. Fellowship. Community.

I read a spectacular article about finding community as a mother. I don't know why but I was almost in tears...I guess because I have never thought of community as such a beautiful thing. "Finding Your Tribe: Feed Your Soul While Feeding Your Kids" by Teresa Pitman. If you have not read this article you must! Here is a small part of the article so you can get an idea.

"Vicki and I are cleaning out her fridge. The vegetable bins have somehow warped and have to be jiggled out, revealing a slimy green pepper and a distinctly brown head of iceberg lettuce. Laughing at the disgusting items, Vicki holds open the lid of the compost bucket, and I dump in the veggie remains. A minute later my toddler wanders into the kitchen and tugs at my shirt. While I sit cross-legged on the floor and nurse her, Vicki washes out the bins and hands out crackers to her two children and my three year old. Then, with everyone fed and content for a few more minutes, we start on the next shelf of the fridge. By the end of the day, when our husbands arrive, we'll have cleaned the bathrooms, vacuumed all the floors, finished a couple of loads of laundry, and prepared a meal for both families to enjoy. And tomorrow we'll do it all over again at my house."

 Working together, being there for each other, watching the children grow, and satisfying the need for adult friendship while taking care of the children. They cried together, laughed together, and grew together as a little community.

Wow! What a beautiful thing!...This article has pushed me to get out of my box. I am not shy...but very independent, maybe a bit controlling, and definitely feel like I need to do everything myself. While realizing this lately I have appreciated my time so much with my friends, asked more questions about them, engage in their life to show them I care. I want to be there to help and not be selfish of my time. My house has been more of a mess...yes I still make it a priority to pick up, but if it is not spotless I am ok with inviting a friend over. Everyone knows that we actually live here. I have been super blessed with such a great small group of friends from church, cherish the time I have with my LLL mamas and their wise advice, and have really engaged in conversation on the Mothering forums. I have always been one to read in the forums, but this week I realized how much alike I am to many other moms and when we talk and share life I learn so much. The due date clubs were a great community that satisfied my need to know what other pregnant women were going through at the same time I was. If you are expecting I would definitely check those out.

The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, "What are you going through?"
Simone Weil
Hope you all have a fantastic day!

14 comments:

Lindsay said...

Steph - I love that you blogged about this - friendships with women have been something I've been really thinking about and working toward in the past few months. It's hard - but I"m so glad that God is teaching me about what true friendship looks like.

Captivated said...

Amen sista! I love you and appreciate your openness so much. The community thing has been on my heart for some time now, as you know. I want to go deep in the way I love people and share life with them. Thanks for the encouragement!

Jessica said...

I think this is my first time commenting but I've been reading for awhile...something about your blog just drew me and I've really enjoyed it. Reading this post nudged me into commenting because that's one way I can bring a bit more community into my blogging world.

I loved the article. As a young mom of 2 little ones, I've found that I *need* this kind of interaction with other adults. I feel like I'm starting to get this with one friend who we meet up with for storytime at the library, but in our busy culture, it can be really hard, I feel like I end up canceling on her too often because I'm simply to tired from being too busy.

This is such a challenging, draining time of life for me, but I've heard older, wiser moms say that the friendships forged when their kids were young are the ones that stick forever.

Thanks again for sharing, and I'll try to comment more often!

MParks83 said...

I love reading your blog! Now that I'm a stay at home mom for a while I totally can understand and appreciate what you mean about wanting to get so much done. This is harder than working in an office all day! I can't remember if I told you already but you totally won the baby pool! You were only like an hour off so way to go, you have bragging rights for life! :-)

Nicole Suzanne Farley said...

I LOVE this post, I need to really dig into it some time, and think through/read your articles. Exciting! We're definitely feeling the need for community here, so it's also been on my mind. Very interesting...

Hey, I keep thinking about your Strings-wall hanging, and have a PERFECT place for it here in India! just a question...what does it mean that the frame isn't included? It looks like there's a cloth lining around it, is that what you're calling frame, or like a physical hard frame? Let me know, I'm going to talk to Chris about it right now!

Jenna said...

Great post - I think about this a lot. Right now my 'community' is small and dear to me. I wonder what will happen though, when we start growing our family. For at least a few years I will have to work full time, so I've wondered how I will handle the balancing act of work, caring for baby and husband, trying to keep up the house, AND then making time for friends and relationships. It seems so daunting! Probably silly to worry about that right now, but I do anyway! :)

Kelli B said...

I really appreciated this post Steph. Makes me think, especially as we are the newbies in our neighborhood...as I meet and greet our neighbors - am I investing right away in getting to know them? I want to. So far - so good with the neighbors on both sides, i feel like i know a bit of their lives.

Building community wherever you're at. I like it. It's necessary. And so many people just need someone to reach out - someone who cares.

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