I’ve lived on three continents and seen more of the world than most. Living in other parts of the world provides an education one doesn’t get when everything is familiar. I’ve often shaken my head at wonder that many don’t know that that black and white are only two of many ethnic possibilities, that in some places, class (a/k/a money and deportment) trumps skin colour every time, that in many parts of the world, those with darker skin are considered less desirable but in some, those of lighter skin are less beautiful.
Still, there is that which can never be learned traveling the world. The family is the ideal place to lean that when life is just too much, when everything ought to work but fails, when I feel I’m a total disappointment and a burden, those who love me will pick me up, dry my tears and say, ‘I’m here for you. I’m happy to have you in my life. Believe me, it will work out.” Family is where having a meltdown and being weak are opportunities for more love, not less.
But sometimes family isn’t available. Real Christian community can provide the same love. Christian community is not being nice on Sunday and at church events before we go off to our own separate existences. It’s not just asking, ‘How are you?’ and saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ when we hear that things are tough. Sometimes tough consists of the endless days of isolation and loneliness punctuated by Church attendance. Sometimes tough consists of never having the opportunity to give to others. Sometimes tough is not what I need you to give me but what I hunger to give you.
In a moment, I’ll go and transplant my house mate’s herbs — we’re trying to protect the basil by planting it next to some spicy hot oregano. The joy of doing something for a friend is excruciatingly painful — warm water on frozen fingers. It’s not something the world can give me. It’s a people thing. It’s an Acts of the Apostles thing. It’s the place where I can trust enough to reveal myself, including the parts I’ve always hidden because being brave and tough and strong were necessary. It’s the place where I can just relax and be human.
Every Friday,100s of bloggers set a timer, write for 5 minutes, and then post the results over at Kate Motaung’s blog, Heading Home. She provides the prompt on Thursday evening. We don’t edit or concern ourselves with whether our writing is flawless or worthy to be seen. We expose our incomplete, unpolished thoughts and words to each other and our readers and tweet them with the hashtag #FMFParty. Join us.