Yesterday I sat cross legged on the floor in the gym, surrounded by people yet in that small space entirely alone. We were given five minutes, time carved out to pray. And as I sat there, the first words out of my mouth were Well here I am, God, in the wrestling ring again
October has come to me quietly, much like the changing of the seasons. It is testing my relationships, taking hold of my human characteristics and pointing out the flaws in my selfish desires.
This process of examining my beliefs, my thoughts, my relationships is bittersweet.
I have a longing for hours spent curled up in front of the window, basking in the sunlight, for closeness and poetry.
But life slows down for nothing, and in this place I feel like everything is always moving at rapid speed. The last few nights I have been sneaking off to bed early, crawling beneath the covers, emotionally exhausted.
I feel a strange mix of look how far I've come and yet still look how far I have to go.
The struggle is never ending, there is always more, and nothing is quiet what I thought it would be.
Living in community often leaves me feeling vulnerable, like one wrong move will leave me shattered. And when something comes up, an internal struggle that turns into an external conflict, my instinctive reaction is to pull back and draw within myself.
When I am exhausted, when I am overwhelmed with everything I am learning, when life doesn't happen the way I think it should the first thing I want to do is pull back.
I want to stubbornly hold myself away from the body. The hardest thing to do is to keep being honest, keep loving and extending grace and offering up parts of myself.
One of the main themes I've heard discussed in all my classes this month has been unity, and the body of Christ.
This morning I sat in one of my classes while my teacher spoke on this very topic, emphasizing that none of us are individuals. My failure to grow and dream and love and be the person God intended for me to be doesn't just affect me, it affects everyone else within the body. My struggles, questioning, wrestling doesn't just affect me, but everyone around me. I am not an island.
And maybe I used to think I was. Almost exactly a year ago I wrote for about a month on the idea of being an island, separate.
But I'm not an island. I'm part of this body, this community. And while the easiest thing to do when I'm wrestling out what I believe would be to withdraw, my job is to be here and show up and keep working towards extending that grace and love. I don't get to be off by myself because that's not where I'm put.
The strength of the wolf is the pack and the strength of the pack is the wolf
In these tender moments of wrestling out what I believe, I have been so blessed by the people who have come around me.
Things like going on an adventure only to end up changing a flat tire in the dark, long walks with good friends, a sweet encouraging note from the girls in my care group, it all reminds me that I am not alone.
Being in community means there are people here, to make me laugh and share in those good moments with and also just to come alongside me and walk with me.
And it means that I get the privilege of coming alongside them as well, sharing in the moments in which they burn the brightest but also stepping into their darkness.
Not one of us is an island.
It is in these hard moments that I begin to truly understand what community is.
It means being here, for the good and the hard. It means standing by your people, and letting them stand by you. It means sometimes getting over yourself to realize you are a part of something bigger.
It means choosing grace and love and to be honest even when your heart is aching.
What I do doesn't just belong to me, but every other person in this community, in this body.
Together we stand, divided we fall
“We don't learn to love each other well in the easy moments. Anyone is good company at a cocktail party. But love is born when we misunderstand one another and make it right, when we cry in the kitchen, when we show up uninvited with magazines and granola bars, in an effort to say, I love you.”