When Community Doesn’t Look Like It Once Did Sunday, July 16th, 2017
Earlier this year, I created a network for writers to find encouragement, resources and community as they pursue their craft. From this network, I have discovered new and seasoned voices that absolutely need to be heard by many! The post below has been written by Tammy, of TammyLeeMarlene.com, and I’m so excited to share it with you. You can connect with Tammy on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram or find her writing at www.tammyleemarlene.com
My parents were pastors when I was growing up which meant we were always surrounded by people. I was born into a built-in community.
We were at the church almost every day for services, or Bible studies, or potlucks, or women’s meetings, or outreaches. We constantly had people from the congregation over. We constantly went over to people from the congregation’s homes. We grew close with those church families in our same neighborhood. We had meals, movies, hikes, parties, celebrations, outings, group trips, swimming days, bike rides, and holidays always surrounded by our community.
And it was a great atmosphere to grow up in with this band of people who did life with you, got you, cared for you, and who were just “your people.”
I discovered at a young age that community is such a beautiful gift.
I have also gone through seasons with no community.
We have moved a lot, and I had 3 kids in less than 4 years. It led to times where there really wasn’t a group of “my people” in our everyday lives. There have been so many times where it was just us for birthday celebrations and holidays and for Friday night pizza. We had such fun together as a little family, but I have also longed for that sense of community for myself and my children. Because I have seen it, felt it, lived it and I want to have my own kids and family in a loving, thriving community.
Having days of no community has definitely opened some opportunity for a bit of deep introspection. It has actually made me look outwardly at the everyday people I might have passed up before in the past. The people I interact with every single day but I never took time to know.
The guys at the bank, the barista young ladies, the man in the check-out line at the grocery store, the ladies at the post office…
As I run through their lines, I find myself taking the time to stop now, to ask questions, and to listen. I hear their stories. I see what they are going through. I have joked with the barista and chatted about who has the best almond croissants. I learned with sorrow that one bank employee recently lost a parent and my heart ached for them. The grocery store clerk and I talk about our vacation plans and he gives me advice on raising my kids into teenagers. The ladies at the post office hustle despite the recent surgeries they had gone through.
I have gotten these extraordinary snippets into their lives.
And they have asked me about my life too. They joke with my kids, they offer lollipops and candy, they ask how I am doing, encourage me on the days I look a bit frazzled by motherhood, give me tips on the best way to cook meat, compliment my outfit, and have made me laugh and smile and feel like even if I am just a customer, I still matter to them.
On so many days, when I have ached for the kind of community I grew up in, I can now see how God did give me community. It just came a little differently then I thought. It came in my every day occurrences served by some remarkable people.
Maybe today you are in a season where you feel the lack of community.
Maybe it hangs heavy on your heart even. While you wait and work on building your community, I encourage you to truly see those you interact with every day… whomever they may be.
Your neighbor. The elderly lady down the street. The gas station attendant. The barista. The banker. The bakery owner.
Anyone who has become a part of your every day world. Perhaps God has them in your life right now for a reason. Perhaps God has you in their lives right now for a reason. And maybe they won’t turn out to be “your people” as you build your community, but maybe you will be a blessing to each other for today.
If I have learned anything in these days of no community, it’s that community really is all around us. I hope your heart is filled in knowing you are never alone.
BIO: Tammy is known for authentic writing as she shares about her real-life struggles and joys. She hopes an honest snapshot of her life will encourage other women to find comfort in Christ. Tammy is passionate about her family, cupcakes, pink lip-gloss, and coffee. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and blogs way too much about her children at TammyLeeMarlene.com.
What do you think? Are you in a season of little community? Does community today look differently than it did just a few years ago? The links below come from other important voices of my writer’s network, speaking on their view of community. I bet you can relate to many of these thoughts.