The Beauty of Community Lies in its Fragility
By jenniferkaufman on November 11, 2013
wrote some about the beauty of community in Part One. I believe everything I wrote. It really is amazing, and I’m so thankful for the impact it regularly has on our family.
For me, though? Community is tricky. I deeply value a few that I find myself in – serving teams at church, a community of dreamers and builders to which I belong – but I am also growing more and more certain that while belonging to a such groups is essential, a few relationships have to go deeper. The problem for me is that communities – and more specifically, friendships – are made up of people. And people, if you weren’t aware, can suck. To continue on a theme, Jeff Goins says, “The beauty of community rests in its fragility.” This comment stuck with me, because I think it’s lovely. I also think it’s scary. The more I thought about it, I thought, wait – the fragility is what sucks. It hurts people. I know his statement true, though.
Relationships that aren’t genuine aren’t fragile. Relationships that aren’t worth anything aren’t fragile. Real relationships? The ones in which you open up your heart to someone else? They have the power to destroy you. C.S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one.”
Reading the entire quote (and living for much time at all) it’s clear that he doesn’t actually suggest this as best practice. I’d be lying, though, if I said I don’t tend to take only this part as a motto for my life. I’ll just say it: I’m terrified of people hurting me. I don’t like to let people in. I could write a book on all the reasons why, but this isn’t that book.
I know though, that C.S. Lewis was right. (Isn’t he usually?) In order to love and be loved, we have to know and be known. It is only in doing so that we can experience true love, true friendship. We can’t experience the joy of friendship without taking the risks that come with it.
So…. what then? How does an adult make friends? I make a mean rainbow loom bracelet, but I don’t think sharing them on the playground works anymore. That might actually be frowned upon. I have friends that I love dearly… but busyness and mommyhood and distance have separated us. They’re the kind of friends that would drop everything and be here in an instant if I needed them. The kind that can pick up where we left off in the rare case we get to spend time together. Do you have that kind of friend? I hope so.
But what about people in your life that you see regularly, who actually know what’s going on behind your walls – the physical ones and those that guard the place deep in your heart? That you can actually do life with?
I don’t know about you, but I crave that – and yet I’m so, so bad at it. Every now and then, I let someone in… and sometimes, they stomp on my heart.
I believe without a doubt God has designed us to live both in community and in close relationships with a few people in our “innermost circle”, and wants to provide those things for us. Do you struggle with either of those things as much as I do?
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