This morning at church, I was reminded of the embracing and uplifting power of community.
A friend I hadn’t seen in weeks, to the point that I was concerned about his well being, was there. Seeing him, ebullient as ever, cheered me.
A couple who had also been absent for several weeks was back. Their 18-month-old daughter had adopted a mid-morning nap time that, as any parent will testify, was more sacred than coming to church.
During the sharing of joys and concerns, a woman spoke of the civil union which enabled her partner to adopt their children. The children now have two legal parents, although they probably don’t notice any change at home and won’t realize the significance for years.
Another member told of a sudden seizure, the cause of which is still being diagnosed. Her fear at the unknown was palpable, yet assuaged somewhat by sharing her experience with the congregation.
Our lives are most fulfilled when they are intertwined in community, a community that celebrates our joys and shares our troubles, a community that encourages us to be our best and accepts our weaknesses.
In the words of Starhawk, American author and a voice for earth-based spirituality,
We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been — a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time.
Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power.
Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free.