Things I learned from my Word for 2018 – Community
Last year, when I landed on “community” as my word-of-the-year, I had been trying to push myself to be more social. You see, I’m happy to stay home and not talk to anyone. I avoid the greeting-time at church as much as possible, and I find the vacant seat with the least amount of people around it in a restaurant.
But I wondered if I should maybe try to get outside of my comfort zone a little more. So, I picked the word “community” and let it dictate whether I would stay in or go out.
The year started off easy enough. I said yes when I would normally have said no. I went when I would have stayed, and I let things get uncomfortable in the name of social interaction.
That stuff stretched me and even gave me more confidence, but then I got to the other part of interacting with people. The ugly part.
The part that led to hard conversations with people that didn’t go so well.
And hospital visits I felt poorly equipped for.
It brought me to my knees with the loss of a dear friend and reminded me that to be close to others is to risk pain and heartbreak.
I let my guard down and opened up, and I learned people will hurt you. A lot. And sometimes they don’t even mean to.
I also learned I need people.
It might be easier if we limit our contact with others, withdraw into a cave, or hide behind a screen, but it’s not better. Despite all the pain I’ve felt this past year, I’m keenly aware of the difference living in community has made in my life.
The truth is we need each other. I don’t really think we can grow into who we’ve been created to be without these interactions with other people—even the bad ones. They shape us.
Besides, how else are we going to learn about speaking up, caring, and forgiveness, if we never rub up against the people next to us. It’s one thing to talk about caring. It’s another to actually show up with your work clothes on.
I needed others to show me the way to those things. And you’re a part of that.
Your emails and invites, the things you’re doing with your life, and your stories. You’re part of my community, and I hope I’m part of yours.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate each and every one of you. From my beta readers to everyone who emailed me about something I wrote to the stranger I’ve never met, I am so grateful you’re here. Write me any time, and I promise I’ll write you back.
And next week I’ll share my word for 2019.
Have you picked out your word for the year? Leave it in the comments or email me back!
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