I said it out loud.
“I can’t believe no one called, no one asked, no one offered to help,” I complained to my husband.
My old community wounds surface at the first hint of disappointment and surprise me with their intensity. My words sound bitter and I struggle to sort it all out.
Why is it that pain from past relationships cast a shadow over present ones? Why is it easier to remember the negative than pursue the positive?
He squeezes my arm and says, “If someone had done all those things, would you have accepted it? Did you ask?”
The question hangs. He knows me too well. I shrug and confess, “No. You know how I am, I’m an introvert and it’s hard for me to accept help. I just wanted someone to ask if I needed it.”
And my words sounded hollow in my own ears.
He reassures and reminds me of the deep community we are building. He is right and I feel foolish for drudging up the past because the present didn’t live up to my expectations.
“Community is no longer natural or easy under our present cultural conditions. It will require an intentionality greater than that required by our ancestors, and uncomfortable to most of us….” -Timothy Keller
It’s hard for me to reach out, to let people in and when they don’t meet my (often unspoken) assumptions, I’m disappointed. I have invisible needs and often let the pain of yesterday’s community rob me of the joy of today.
“…But building Christian community is not simply a duty. It should not be a distasteful act of the will. Community grows naturally out of shared experience, and the more intense the experience, the more intense the community…” -Timothy Keller
At the end of the day, I want intense community. And after all these years, I am slowly finding it by sharing the intensity that comes from honesty and being open enough to share life, and not just the ups. Being vulnerable in the low times with other women makes sharing the mountain-top experiences even better.
Many of us spend so much energy pulling away from community. Honestly, it’s easier to shut people out, but in the end fellowship heals community pain.
We need community, the good and the bad. Because it’s exactly God’s answer for community pain. People wound us, people heal us.
The next day, I called my friend and when she asked if I needed help, I said yes. And so did she.
When it comes to community wounds, are you tempted to give up on people? Or yourself? How do you overcome the pain that often comes with being vulnerable in community?
(in)RL GIVEAWAY: Won’t you share in the comments or link up your stories below? We’d love to hear your heart as we all “check-in” on how we’re doing with this whole bravely connecting with community thing.
And we’d love to give one of you who shares our beautiful (in)RL DVD Set and Devotional Booklet.
by Kristen Welch, We are THAT family