This blog post has been months in the making. Here's hoping that I finally have enough pieces to make it worth reading. It began when someone I had thought was on my wavelength had disappointed me in some form. The post at that time would have been about the false sense of community we create for ourselves. But the more I think on it, the deeper, the more involved, the subject matter is.
This last weekend, I was in Kansas City hosting my now annual Bead for Life party. I had SO MUCH FUN. It was a weekend of reunion, reconnection and establishing new relationships. We hung out with friends. I saw people I haven't seen in a decade. I met a lady who is adopting though the same agency we are. And I LOVED all of them. It was the weirdest mix pf people I could imagine being in the same place.
I was on a high, but by Monday evening, my rationale kicked into gear.
Last year my bead party looked so different. It was the same eight or ten people that I saw once or twice a week, for the most part. What was different?
When you live in the same city, you always have the assumption that people will be there later. It's just SO MUCH work to actually make plans to see people. I was guilty of the same.
One of my bridesmaids lived in the same city, but an hour away. You know how close an hour looks when you are staring down a full three? CLOSE. Suddenly a bead party is a chance for a reunion. Same for college friends, old Bible study partners, people who have changed churches. Oh, the laughter.....what a great day. Every time the door opened, I found myself screeching, "HEY!" and running across the room for a hug.
It was utterly delightful.
We went back to our old church on Sunday. I got hugs. Lots of hugs. From people who would have never ventured to hug me before. People just aren't huggers, for the most part. But once those hugs aren't available, they become something precious. A chance to say, "I love you! I miss you! HEY! YOU are MY friend." My love tank was filled to overflowing.
People are so precious. I think we forget that when they are available all the time. We take them for granted. They become something that is an obligation. Someone else who needs something from us.
And then, sometimes, we lose them. It almost hurts to see them again once they are removed from us. It's a reminder of that which we lost. A piece of ourselves that we won't get back. Pieces of me are scattered all over the planet right now, and I'm homesick for them.
I have dear, dear friends that I have never met. I have a writing community who know my struggle with what I have the opportunity to write and that which I desire to write. They grant me the title of "writer" and include me in their groups even when I have no physical evidence that I belong there. I have been in situations where I believed that I was wasting my time with people in my real life because they didn't get it. They let me down. And then one day we deviated from writing on our writer's loop and someone let me down. The pain that followed I still carry. But my IRL (In Real Life) friends were there to pick up the pieces.
Funny thing about community.
Right now I have another community: the adoptive community. When we adopted Eldest, our community was microscopic. Most people didn't get it. We had one set of friends that held our hands throughout the ordeal and I still describe them as dear friends even though we haven't talked since I was pregnant with Frodo (now 8). This go round I have made friends that I can't even tell you where they come from. They GET IT. I find myself wishing I could sit down to tea with them. But I suspect that if we spent much time together, they would let me down. Just because THIS passion we share, it doesn't mean we share them all. But I want to engage in email dialogue, if for not other reason than because I'm sure my IRL friends are sick, sick, SICK TO DEATH of listening to me talk about the details ad nauseum.
I don't even want to talk about the details, to be frank. I want to talk about changing the world. Making a difference.
What does everyone else want to talk about? Christmas shopping. I opened a Walmart add today and wanted to vomit. I kid you not. Physical reaction so strong I'm surprised nothing came up. Don't get me wrong. I want people to come to my next Bead for Life party and Christmas shop until they drop. I like to give a good gift as much as the next guy. But when I think about how much money goes into plastic in packages that will be forgotten by January 6 (particularly by my children) I just wonder what we are thinking. Thank the LORD He is giving me a community of like minded friends in that area as well. And from the most unlikely of sources. But sometimes even they let me down.
Right now I want my community to care that children are starving. Am I asking them to adopt? Not exactly. But how about buying them a sheep? Really. Is that too much to ask? $30. Last week I shared a image on facebook of a child's foot and a pair of shoes. For $10, you can provide a child with shoes so they don't get those parasites that make walking painful. But it gets better. Those $10 are paid to a person on the ground in Uganda to make the shoes. It gets even better than that. That $10 buys the supplies to make the shoes from a farmer in Uganda. Total people helped? THREE. (PLUS all their family). I made a comment on the photo, "Who wants shoes for Christmas?" I made a deal with myself that I would buy a pair of shoes in Uganda for EVERYONE who "liked" or commented on that photo. Not a single person. So sad.
Community. Sometimes they let you down.
The only one who won't let you down? Jesus. His people will, but he won't.
But I love my community. My online community. My adoptive community. My writing community. My old church. My new church. My family. My friends. My Bible study girls. My facebook friends. My bloggies. The people from my past life that should hate me for being a prissy bitch and love me and my new self anyway. I love the women I pray with on Tuesday and I love their children. I love that my old scientific mentor is now all in for poverty eradication. I loved him then. I love him now. I love KU. I love HHS. Did bad things happen in both places? YES. But good came out of it. God makes beautiful things out of us. Our fears. Our failures. Our successes. Our peeps. Our community. Even when they let us down.
Thank you for being part of my community. Please forgive me when I let you down.