Monday, May 3, 2021

Community = Capability?

Too often today it is difficult to find community, no? Whether it is because you move often (which can even be as infrequently as say every ten years) or because you are living in a bigger city, it's hard to build up that sense of community. Think Little House on the Prairie here (I love thinking Little House on the Prairie). Families and singles and widows/widowers, young and old and in-between, rich and poor and in-between, educated and not and in-between, the doctor and the teacher and the reverend and the storekeeper and the blacksmith. Community. Someone to turn to whatever it is you need, whether it's a broken ankle or a broken heart. 

We are not designed to be self-capable. We are designed for community, to help and be helped. 

I've felt what it's like to not have community. And I've seen what community can do. When we gather together in brotherly love, good things happen. 

I was watching Unplanned this weekend, and there was one particular reaction to the movie I wanted to share. (If you haven't heard of it, the movie is based on the true story of a woman who was a clinic director for Planned Parenthood until one day she saw something that unraveled all of her justifications and made her quit.) The movie shows women stuck in an unexpected situation and grasping for help. Most of them feel like they don't have any options but one, and they feel this way because they feel incapable. They feel incapable of having and/or raising a child. (And I get that; without even being in any of their circumstances, I also don't feel capable as of now, though perhaps someday that might change.)

Incapable. Did you get that? It's especially ironic when today's message in society is "you are strong and capable." Just not capable of anything having to do with responsibility, eh? Life throws us a lot of things that make us feel incapable, whether it's a baby or cancer or a certain job or a relationship. For some of us, maybe it's even stepping out and talking to people that makes us feel incapable. But do you know what? It's community that helps make us capable. (Which is why even if I get social anxiety, I'm still working on community building: it's incredibly important and rewarding.)

Pioneer Living History Museum

Community, at its best and purest, is meant to provide a friend to talk to when you're broken, a mentor to give advice when you need it, and people to help you with practical/physical needs. And you know what else is really cool? Church is a great foundation for community. Think Little House on the Prairie again. The town has its moments and its conflicts, but everyone gathers together in the little white church and makes amends and comes back to their care for one another. God designed the church as the place for us to gather in devotion to him and also as the focal point for our communities. When we live in love towards him and one another and follow his ways, good things happen. And when we find ourselves in unexpected situations, whatever those may be, we find people to walk through it with us and we find that good things still come out of our fears and our difficulties. Amazing.

So you are not incapable. Maybe you can't do it alone, but whatever it is we can face it together. 

No comments:

Post a Comment