Early this morning, my day off, I scurried down to the lake alone. The girls were still asleep, Doug is in Colorado tending ministry demands.
I am most at home on the water. The serene song of the paddle skimming the still surface engages me.
As soon as I launched the canoe I began the pouring out and eventually found Rest.
These are my captured thoughts.
So many days I begged for community - begged my husband, begged the Lord. I longed to be more than just a gypsy caravan of 4. Perhaps we are still that gypsy caravan as I have no idea how long the Lord will call us to live here at Camp, but certainly I have community now; the Blessing and the Breaking of it.
I filter my life here through these verses as I try to make sense of it all. This life is so foreign to me. Could it be that I have never known community? Admittedly, living in a commune this day in age is a crash course, right!!??!! All other ministry/life situations I have encountered have allowed escape at the end of every day. I could go home. Not here. Here I live communally every hour of every day. And it rubs me raw. It feels foreign to me at every turn. I must see people before I can even go to the bathroom in the morning! I must talk to them, greet them, share with them, Bless them. And so it is every hour. They watch me cycle through every emotion of learning this life. Its horrifying! I must apologize and ask forgiveness constantly. I must fight entitlement to My job, My kitchen, My family, My ways, My ideas, My time, My life. (Note the erroneous capital M's there.)
I am acutely aware of how the allowance of seclusion in my previous life seasons also allowed marginal recognition of certain sin. Many days I feel I have ants crawling on me with the abundance of people around all the time. But that is mostly due to the fact that they require me to engage and Love when what I want is to be in my head, or at least with people whom I am comfortable living beside.
I have learned to serve my family but now I am learning to serve at large. While my children watch and learn. Why? Why this crash course?
I ask myself…is the picture in the scriptures above actually happening here? Easily I begin to count the ways in which it is not, the people in which I do not see this kind of submission and devotion. But the easy route of thinking (criticizing others before examining myself) has never proved itself true. So I listen more intently and see that yes, YES, that is why I have always loved this place. There is a soft song of these verses being lived out here. I can join in that soft song, meaning live in the joy of knowing I am where the Lord has called me for now, even if it doesn't make sense, or I can point my bony finger at all that is wrong. But what about all that is right? What about learning to love the people and learning to really L(capital L)ive in community?
And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. One was named Keitha.
"The people with whom you are thrown together in the family, the college, the mess, the ship, the religious house, are from this point of view a wider circle than the friends, however numerous, whom you have made for yourself in the outer world. By having a great many friends I do not prove that I have a wide appreciation of human excellence. You might as well say I prove the width of my literary taste by being able to enjoy all the books in my own study. The answer is the same in both cases - "You chose those books. You chose those friends. Of course they suit you." The truly wide taste in reading is that which enables a man to find something for his needs on the sixpenny tray outside any secondhand bookshop. The truly wide taste in humanity will similarly find something to appreciate in the cross section of humanity whom one has to meet every day. In my experience it is the Affection that creates this taste, teaching us first to notice, then to endure, then to smile at, then to enjoy, and finally to appreciate, the people who "happen to be there." Made for us? Thank God, no. They are themselves, odder than you could have believed and worth far more than we guessed."
- The Four Loves, CS Lewis