It’s an ongoing struggle for me: Connection within the constant urge to disconnect. (This can probably be defined as the struggles of an introvert in an extroverted world) I know that seems vague and uninspired, but let me try and put these thoughts into words. For years I have been attempting to come to terms with being part of this town in which we live. If you know me, you know that I have done this not in the usual ways of trying to find ways to fit in, or ways to cope or change my thinking, but instead by complaining about the things I find annoying and always attempting to find an escape route. I would argue that this is maybe a little bit of a coping mechanism which has allowed me to find like-minded people – people who are not brainwashed by the idea that this is THE perfect town, that it is without moral flaw or that it is THE perfect place to raise kids or be a single person, or college student, or career person, anyone and everyone could be happy in this utopian place right?! – the people who are not fooling themselves with these ideas, are the people to whom I’ve become attached. What I’ve realized in this search to disown the ideas of this town is that perhaps the greater community does not actually accept them – maybe it’s a construct of my own bias to want not to live here that has created this idea so that I wouldn’t be attached. Detrick Bonhoffer, in his book “Life Together”, said a lot of things about community, but the way in which he challenges me as a reader to question my expectations of community is the part that struck me the most. It is easy for me to point out the flaws I see in what other people expect of community; it’s just as easy to say that I’ve changed my expectations because they used to be similar to those flaws I see in others (I’ve grown, obviously((please read this sarcastically))); but it’s very, very difficult for me to recognize my own flaws of expectation without attempting to excuse them away as valid expectations that everyone should realize. I have felt so connected lately – to town, to people, friends and family. I am overcome by the kindness of friends these weeks as I’m attempting to finish my Bachelors degree. People who have stepped up to help distract my children so I can write, people who have called to check in, let me know they’re praying, and have always responded in grace and patient understanding when I am less than patient or present in my responses and conversation as of late. I cannot focus well on the moments I am in direct contact with these lovely people because I’m so distracted by the amount of work before me, and yet they seem to understand – to love me anyway – and to actively attempt to lighten the burden of obligation I feel to every part of my life right now. So – all that to say – this connection to community that has been given to me without my seeking it and it’s is so appreciated friends. When I’m actively seeking to disconnect my story from everything around me – to crawl into a dark spot to study, or think, or sleep – those spaces have been allowed, and friendship still extended through them. Thank you Friends. Thank you for dissolving my expectations and helping me to recognize my own flaws – thank you for grace and understanding – your help and patience. This isn’t the post I was intending to write when I sat down, so it may end up a bit of a series as my thoughts come together better….