Christianity, Recovery, Relationships, Spirituality

Community

:  I actually had to put on a hoodie this morning. Although the bulk of the rain is heading east, it’s still cool and overcast here in Fort Worth this morning. I don’t know if there’s any scientific proof to support this, but the coffee tastes better on days like this.

I was thinking about my brother Craig this morning. Craig and I were roommates for several years. I had a brain hemorrhage a few years back. The doctors told me I couldn’t work until the surgery to be done several months later. Consequently, I had to let my house go into foreclosure. Craig offered his place for a couple of weeks. I left six years later…

I always tell people that I had to wait until I was in my fifties to get a brother. Craig was, and is, more than my former roommate. In the time I shared his home I grew more spiritually. I firmly believe God brought us together for that very reason. Although I’m happily married today, I miss all the mornings in the wood shop, drinking coffee, praying, and sharing our faith with one another. We don’t get to do that enough…

Craig is an amazing craftsman in his wood shop. He made a beautiful pipe from an old oak burl for me. It’s truly amazing. It smokes smoothly and is thoroughly enjoyable after a good evening meal. What I really like about though is the note that came with it. It’s taped above my keyboard, so I see it regularly. It simply says, “Like David and Jonathan, you are my best friend. This pipe is a token of my love for you. Enjoy it my friend!”. I do my brother…

Our friendship started me thinking about the broader community I’m blessed to be a part of today. I share life today with many people. I never thought it would be possible. I’m basically shy and introverted. I don’t do well in groups, but I thrive in community. I discovered that when I got into recovery. It offered me the first introduction to living in community. I’ve made it a practice to be involved in that community; because even community takes practice.

When I was growing up, my social ineptitude made life difficult outside the community of my parent’s friends and their kids. When we moved away for my Dad’s job I felt isolated and uncomfortable. That feeling plagued me for years. I tried many ways to make my world fit, especially at “church”, but I couldn’t live up to their standards of conduct and piety. I was so relieved when I found recovery. It was quite refreshing to hear “God” and “mother****” in the same sentence. It was even better that I was accepted for me, imperfections and all.

Recovery helped rekindle my faith in the God of my understanding: it emphasized an interactive relationship with that God. If I nurtured that relationship my life would be transformed. I’ve experienced transformation today. I fit in: not just into recovery, but to society at large. If you’ve ever been on the “outside looking in”, you know what I mean.

I had many misconceptions about what “community” really meant. I had this crazy idea it required a type of separation from society (I am a child of the sixties!) and communal living. I viewed everything as either “in” or “out” (probably from growing up in a fundamentalist Christian home – they’re a pretty exclusive bunch…). Entering in to a relationship with a Higher Power, with God, exposed those misconceptions.

I began to hear, and listen, to the “Good News”. I’d always heard how it was about God wanting to “save me” at some future date but I had to be righteous (or more like “self-righteous”) and work real hard to get there. It never sounded that “good” to me. I began to hear all these years later that it isn’t about some far-off “eternal” life. It’s about the Kingdom, the “community” of Heaven, that’s available to me now. Now that’s good news, that’s transforming…

I’m going to be writing more about community, more about that “kingdom” I’ve found over the coming days. It keeps popping in to my head a lot these days. I’m so grateful to be a part of this community and I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

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