Last Friday I hit a frustration and irritation wall that left me casting bitterness towards a group of people. (It was probably a good thing I had taken a Sabbath from all social networking/media for 48 hours during this time.)
I’m going to say something that is glaringly obvious: Building community is tough, gut wrenching, and counter-cultural.
We easily speak about community, our internal longings for this Beloved community where we can share our deepest secrets (picture Little Women attic style with the inclusion of the strange neighbor, Laurie) and find rest for our tired souls. Yet, when it involves action many shy away or then claim that they are “private” or prefer a personal relationship with God or honestly, don’t give a rat’s ….. about doing anything outside of their normal routine.
I was very thankful for the miraculous family of 5 that loaded up their 3 kids and traveled across town to share a meal with their sometimes grumpy and stress filled godmother. They saved my sobs that evening.
Here is my confession: My pride was damaged. I had placed myself out there for all the world to see and in my own mind I had failed. Failed at engaging others into spending time with people they barely know to share a meal. I was trying to just offer a space and not use any persuasion as my priest so challenged us on Ash Wednesday. I made this whole thing about me, me, me.
All and all it boiled down to being hurt and losing sight of the reason for beginning this discipline.
My ah ha! moment came during savasana on Saturday morning when my lovely yoga teacher shared the following words:
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
I had stopped acting from my soul.
I had stopped feeling overwhelmingly grateful that even one person walked through my doors.
I had forgotten the reason – to build community (however small) and to learn hospitality. To allow God to teach me instead of plowing my way through what I thought should happen.
This Friday, I hope that if tears flow they come from the happiness of having beautiful souls in my life and the fact that I have food, warmth, and comfort to offer another person – a brother or sister. As well as, the understanding that I have a God that remains within me during times of absurd self-absorption and misguided direction.