It's been a year, more than a year actually, of yearning for a community that works, a community that feels like home. In the past little while, some neat things have happened that have given me a glimpse of the good parts of community.
A card came in the mail awhile ago from a friend in the States. In it was some cash with the specific instructions to use it for a date night. I figured we would use it to order take-out one night when we could put our little guy to bed early, and then just curl up on the couch and watch a movie or chat without the resident three year old asking questions. But then the phone rang last week. It was the girl who used to come to our house on a regular basis to be my mother's helper. She had just been to youth group and they had told the kids that they were cancelling youth for Valentine's Day and encouraging them to go out and find someone to serve, specifically in the form of babysitting so a couple could get a date night free of charge. She was offering that to us. Talk about perfect timing. We had our first real date since October when my parents took Grasshopper for an evening so we could get out for a few hours while we were visiting the States.
Sunday morning I dragged myself out of bed and got ready for church, even though I was longing to snuggle in my warm bed because I'd been up far too late reading a good book. It was a good thing I went. Some friends of ours from our old home group were visiting from their new home a few hours away. I hadn't seen them since late summer, and it was good to catch up. We made plans to have them over for dinner this week while they were still in town. Some real community happened with them when they were in our group, but I can't write about it publicly. Still, memories of that shared community are meaningful to me.
On our way home from church, my husband put a white envelope made of taped typing paper in my lap and said that it had been given to him by a friend of ours with the words, "Someone told me to give you this." I opened it and tears gathered in my eyes as I saw that it was a gift of money. As work is very scarce at the moment and has been for quite awhile and we've had a few cancellations for my husband's outdoor adventure education business, it hasn't been the easiest. This gift of money meant we could head to the grocery store and pick up milk and a few other things, and it meant we could take care of another obligation looming in the immediate horizon. Community at work, and we don't even know who gave it.
It is moments like these that remind me to keep on persevering through the mess of building relationships and building community. It reminds me not to give up, not to think that I'm the only one giving sacrificially, not to believe the lie that says we're too broken to have community. And it reminds me to keep on being the positive participant in community without growing weary and giving up.
James says a lot about how real faith is active. It's times like these that I know there are some people of real faith out there. And I'm grateful to be on the receiving end of their kindness.