Brick by Brick, Community is Built

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Helen Keller

As I’ve explored Minneapolis the past few weeks, I find one constant feeling accompanying me, the desire for community. I’m in a new city far away from the Friday night lights, Bible belt culture of Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Leaving home is a milestone for a twenty-something. It’s like starting over again, getting the chance at a new slate with new people and new experiences, which is exciting and scary at the same time.

Independence is a funny thing. We all seem to want it but only to a certain extent.  My need for independence is ironically paired with a strong to desire to have good company. It is almost like a double-personality of sorts, desperately needing solitude but still wanting a steady flow of the faces of family and friends.

My independent nature is what gave me the courage to pack up my entire 22 years of life and move to Minneapolis after college. It is this same courage that sent me to New York and that accompanied me when my family made the big move from Detroit to Tulsa at the ripe age of 16. My independence is what drives me to want to travel to places like South Africa, Italy and Spain in the future. Sometimes I wonder though if my independence and need to wonder, explore and meet all sorts of of people will leave me alone.

Lately, I find myself strongly desiring companionship in this metropolis of more than 300,000 new faces. I’m realizing not only is this desire healthy but it is a good thing. I don’t think we were made to be alone. In fact, it is one of the first things written in the Bible. Genesis 2:18 says, “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.'” Man was not fit to be alone and wahla! Woman was created.

Whatever your beliefs may be, hopefully you can agree with me on this: Community is so important. Think about it: There is a wife for a husband. A brother for a sister. An aunt for a niece or nephew. A father for a son and so forth. We are instrinsically bound to one another. Relationships are the fabric of our lives. They are the stitch that holds us together.

The older I grow, the more aware I am of the value of family and good friends. As my friend circle has expanded and contracted over the years, it has made me want to be more aware of who I let in and out of my life. I think that this is something we should all be more aware of. I am not saying that we should hold onto to people for the sake of having a high friend count, but I believe in community. I believe in the value of connections. I believe in serving, helping, comforting, encouraging and uplifting the person next to you.

Being in a new city provides a perfect opportunity to build community. I’ve been looking for ways to volunteer in Minneapolis and for a good church home for Sunday mornings. I think in the past, I have been a bit reckless when it comes to burning bridges and letting people fall out of my life. I’d like to get better about this and learn to stay the course. Friendships and family were meant to endure stormy weather. We cannot walk away or quit when things get hard. Instead, we must learn to embrace relationships for the beautifully, imperfect things that they are. After all, we were not meant to walk through this life alone.

“We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.”
– Maya Angelou

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