This weekend, we hosted our small group from church. It's a social/fellowship small group. We get together just to talk, play games, and eat. I admit, I felt a bit guilty being around them after having some semi-critical thoughts about my church. I want to clarify that I don't think my church is bad, and I am not critical of its existence. Instead, I am critical of it in terms of where I am and what I am "needing" from a church. (I hope that doesn't sound completely self-centered or self-serving)
I felt guilty, I suppose because here is a group of people that has become my community--something that had been missing from my life for quite some time. As I write this or dialogue on Twitter, I almost feel like I am "hiding" something from them. It's silly, I know. It's just a strange feeling I got.
But as I said, they are my community. We have great times together--laughing a lot! When we have done special Bible/book studies in the past, we openly share our struggles and concerns, and we pray with and for one another. When our car broke down at church, one of our friends gave us a ride home. When I apologized, he said, "Isn't that why we have friends?" When we needed a ride to the rental car place, a friend (who was very pregnant at the time and on her way to an OB appointment) made time to take B to get the car. When we moved to our new townhouse, a friend brought us dinner so we didn't have to worry about it that night. Also, when we moved, friends let us borrow their steam cleaner. When I had bronchitis, a friend offered to let me borrow a humidifier. When I had anxiety from my steroids, she offered to come sit with me, if I needed someone to just be here. I am blown away by the generosity of this community, and it is something I try to return--through cooking a meal for the new parents, offering to babysit for a friend who's in a pinch, or just making myself available, however I am needed.
It is really this community--these friends--who allow me to stay where I am, for now. I am part of a larger community of faith, but this smaller community allows me to connect with people in a real and genuine way. As I said, I have not had that for a very long time.
Oh, how good and pleasant it is, when people live together in (comm)unity! Psalm 133:1