There are times when our small community feels too close to me. The school and church crowds overlap, there is family around every corner, and at times it feels like it’s all pressing in.
I sat at our kitchen table the other day with a friend who finds herself in a similar situation, caring for children AND caring for parents who have recently moved in. She’s a go-getter, this woman…a world-changer and an inspiration to me. We’ve known each other for a long time, lived in the same church family, and are now able to put our heads together and dream about what supporting the sandwich generation in our own community needs to look like. She came with a cup of coffee and we swapped stories and brainstormed, and it was life-giving.
Church attendance for me has been iffy in this season. My husband is a pastor, so I’m by myself on a Sunday morning. Getting three kids out the door, getting Grandpa up and ready, AND breakfast for the whole crew is a task. Plus, we can’t leave Grandma and Grandpa alone for any extended amounts of time, so this puts me in a tough spot on Sundays. One week I just went to pick the kids up at the end of the morning, my in-laws having taken them to church for me. I walked in the lobby and saw everyone conversing and felt a loss. The next Sunday I was able to get in for the second service of the morning. Just having the chance to sit in the service and sing and be taught by our dear friend was enough to get me all misty. Our families are close-our kids play together, go to school together. Hearing him share his heart-his hard-fought battles, and from God’s word, was such a gift. This is community.
So this past Sunday, I was up by 6:30 to get the whole process started so I could get myself and our girls out the door by 9. We did it. I came home to check on the grandparents during the morning and went back to church again. Why? Because being in the midst of this community became very dear to me when it became very difficult to make it happen. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that…
Being part of any community is filled with the good stuff and the bad stuff. There is awkwardness, there are hurts, there are difficult people (I can be one of them, ahem)… But there are people who know you, who help you raise your kids and help you grow your faith.
I’m glad I belong somewhere. I’m glad that I can see a friendly face at the school program, the grocery store, the gas pump, church… I’m grateful for the hugs and how-are-you-really and even just the knowing glances. And my mom is grateful for this too, because she can only imagine how much more I would blow up her phone if I didn’t have anyone else. Lord have mercy.