Monday, May 17, 2010

My Cave

Lately I have been joking with my husband about just wanting to go back into my cave. Because we move a lot, by the time anyone trusts me enough to give me any responsibility, we are getting ready to move again. I get to sit back and enjoy the work of others in the church, having free time to read and write and think, and then just as I start to get involved and asked to step up a bit, the moving truck pulls up to the house to take all our earthly positions to our next location.

We are now planting our roots deeper. We have lived in our current town since our eldest was born, but have moved away for short stints during the last seven years. And we have no intentions of moving again. I have learned not to say never because then the moving trucks start circling but we really do want to stay put now that the kids are in school.

While I love getting to know people past the initial friendship dating phase, there is a very real responsibility that comes from being a member of a community. I have always said it takes a village to raise my boys which is so true. My boys lives are touched by amazing teachers, babysitters, friends, Sunday School teachers, coaches and PTA members every day. There lives are richer because people give their time and talents to the community.

It is now time for me to pay the piper as they say. (Actually I'm not sure that is the right saying but I think it works.) It is time for us to start taking on more responsibility. People are getting to know me better and seeing where I have time and talents to share and I have been asked to take on some more responsibility. I have said a heartfelt YES to those things that are a good match, and have tried to help as best I can in those areas that are not my strength but still need people. I do know how to say NO and have been able to avoid being overcommitted. I believe in saying YES early to the job you want to avoid being stuck having to say yes to a job you hate. But once I have said YES to the right things I have no problem saying no to the rest.

Getting more involved can be a huge blessing. You get to know more people, people you might not ordinarily meet. You get a chance to be involved in the planning process and have your voice heard. You get to feel like you are productive and contributing something to the world which is nice after all these years of my kids being my only contribution. But there are also some frustrations that come with participating. There are meetings. People let you down. There is always that negative naysayer in the bunch. You open yourself to criticism and having to decide if it is worth the fight. You have to check yourself and your ego. Are you pushing the "right" agenda or your agenda? Do you really know best?

So while I am happy to participate most of the time, there are days, when I just want to crawl back into my cave. Where there are no expectations, no dissenting voices. Where my time is my own and I am responsible only to myself and my family. And yet that is not really a choice, at least not according to God who made us to live in community, to love one another, encourage one another, carry one another's burdens. No we are called to live in community and not a community made up of likemindedness. No we are community of very different people. Sometimes our only unifying factor is our faith in Jesus Christ. I love what Don Carson writes in his book "Love in the Hard Places."
Christians come together...because they have all been saved by Jesus Christ and owe him an allegiance... They are a band of natural enemies who love one another for Jesus' sake.

I don't have a hard time building community with likeminded friends. People who share my morals or my values on education, parenting and life are easy for me to be with. It is those that share the most core part of who I am that I often struggle with loving and building community. Sometimes I just want to crawl back into my cave and disengage from the hard work of loving one another, encouraging one another, challenging one another to grow better.

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