Elspeth’s post about her father and community ( has pushed one of the thinking pots from the back of the stove to the front.  Scott didn’t help any, as he talked about roots (   I honestly can’t say I belong to any country other than America.  A right mutt, that’s me.

I grew up here, in this crazy town in SoCal.  My husband grew up here.  My dad grew up here.   I don’t like it here!  It’s much too hot in the summer, and the summer lasts far too long.  There are way too many people.    If all of y’all would go back home, that would be awesome.   SoCal circa 1965 seems about right.  We had enough water to go around… :p  (I could whine about the drought for a while? Pointless).

But whining about a lack of community … which I’ve done… reveals that I do have community, it’s just that as an independence minded American, I’ve ignored the various circles available to me because they weren’t just what I had in mind when I thought “community”.  I mean, community is where my HS friends all move back (or we all move to the mythical ranch in Idaho) or where I move to a little town where everyone thinks like me and looks like me and… right?  I couldn’t POSSIBLY be doing community if I don’t have a garden and an orchard.  I couldn’t possibly be doing community unless I can do survivalist stuff, right?  I couldn’t do community and still be part of the wider culture.  No.  Definitely not.

‘Cause community definitely isn’t a big church that bends over backwards to involve their people and get them interacting, where I know a ton of faces and am known.  Where my kids make friends and grow and learn and do goofy stuff.

Community definitely isn’t my crossfit box, half of which I’ve friended on FB… lunatics all, showing up to ‘deadlifts and donuts’ or an ugly Christmas sweater party, sweating together, encouraging one another.

Community?  Definitely not knowing the grocery clerks and chatting with them while I shop.  Definitely not recognizing the shoe guy at the CF box.

Community?  Absolutely not having my BFF and her husband a few doors up the road.  It’s not knowing the good dentist and doctor and veterinarian.

I don’t want to be here… but here is where I am.  My awesome neighbors who I am losing will be replaced by more Christian neighbors (we don’t take this for granted in SoCal), and the wife is about to have twins.   Maybe an older mom next door would be good?   Bother.  That whole Titus 2 business.  I was only supposed to do that through the church, right?  Oh.  That’s not what it says?

You know what?  I’m starting to feel like an ungrateful brat, that’s what.  I *have* community, it’s already here.  And I keep being given beautiful gifts… but all I look at is what my dreams are made out of.

I have some confession/apologizing to do to the Almighty, and some repentance.  What would making that 180 look like in my life?  It starts with less whining.   Yeah, I still want that ranch and enough water to grow a tomato without a fine… but that’s not why I was put on this planet.  Heaven isn’t here.

Heaven isn’t HERE.  I think the search for that perfect place is one of those hungers that CS Lewis talked about, things that never quite get fulfilled in this world, because the hunger itself was made for the next world.  After all, could my community be perfect if I couldn’t go eat scones with E’s daughters?  If my dad and Chris couldn’t go for a long photo walk?  If I couldn’t help Mychael with that bread recipe and laugh at her duckling’s antics?

Someday, we’ll get to do all that.  Well, I’m not sure about the ducks or scones or bread… but we’re sibs in Christ, and we’ll get to hang out as much as we want.   But for right now… for right now… I’ve got work to do right where I’m planted.

Best get to it.



4 thoughts on “Community

  1. Maeve

    Yep, I’m definitely an unhyphenated-American as well (and I’m also a 3rd gen of Irish descent). And I’m glad to be an American (the real beauty is that if I’d rather be something else, I am FREE TO LEAVE this country and set up housekeeping elsewhere, provided they’ll take me, LOL).

    I loved this post; it reminded me that community isn’t a place, but ones attitude about the people we live with (including ones cyber friends).

    Need coffee. Be back later to chat some more.

  2. Pingback: The Loss of Community | Sign-Posts in a Strange Land

  3. Elspeth

    Been thinking about this in light of Booky McBookerson’s post. I think we sort of have to be content with functional networks seasoned with generous helpings Christian love since the thing that makes a community a *real* community is no longer a part of most Americans’ lives.

    Think about it. Even if we suddenly struck it rich and were able to build that fantastic Christian compound community in Idaho Tennessee, it would be mostly characterized by the fact that people feel free to move on if it doesn’t live up to the fantasy.

    We’re a hopelessly rootless bunch. And I say this as one who lives in the same metro area my whole life, just like you. It’s other people who come and go constantly…


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