Digging Into Community III

Have you ever found your self singing a song that really resonates with you. Deep within your soul, it echoes a silent, reminder, “Someone else has been here. Someone understands.” Growing up, I made my anthem the old Simon and Garfunkel song, “I am a Rock”.

I’ve built walls
A fortress deep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain
I am a rock
I am an island…………………

And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries

Though I did not understand it then, that song proclaimed the story of my young life, the story that I would live for some 40 odd years. Somehow I learned that connection with others meant danger and pain . The pain that I imagined seemed far worse than the pain of isolation which I experienced every day. Certainly, others had disappointed or hurt me in relationships. I remember in kindergarden learning that my best friend had moved away. That story repeated itself several times over the course of my school career. But, if I am honest, even before then, I had learned to isolate myself from the reality of loss. Or perhaps, I feared the possibility of being known and rejected. Either way, the walls I began to build kept me from developing connections that might be painfully severed. I spent time with people, but even then, I remained unknown and isolated.

It’s not supposed to be that way. Simon and Garfunkel were wrong. I need friendship. I need connection with others because God created me for that. God is love. We are made to love, but also to experience and to know love (1 Jn 4:7-14; 1 Co 13; Eph 3:14-19). So then, I am confronted with a choice, self-protection and isolation or trust and deep connection. I can do what ever I must to protect myself from the unknown possibilities of disappointment, betrayal, and pain. Or, I can trust God and open myself up to Him and to others. Not an easy choice. The world teaches us well the former. Who teaches us to trust and to open? Ironically, this task falls to community and demonstrates why we need one another. It’s true, in community, a place where we learn to connect deeply, we can hurt each other. But, in community, we can also find our greatest healing. Remember, God created us to experience love, but in isolation, surrounded by the walls of our own making, there is no love. Community helps us tear down the walls and experience God’s best intentions for us.

  • What stands out to you most?
  • What thoughts, feelings and desires does it stir in you?
  • Spend some time reflecting on the Scriptures listed. How do they impact your thoughts about community?

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