The joy of community

Today I get the privilege of hosting five families for dinner. We’ve known each other for the better part of our lives, and tonight we’ll all come together in joyful community. I look forward to these kinds of evenings relaxing with friends and family. This is where my true wealth lies!

We are coming together in celebration, but none of us are free from struggles and sorrows. My oldest friend in the room just lost her niece to cystic fibrosis. We miss our eldest son, who recently joined the military. Another friend struggles with a recent diagnosis. We all have kid problems, job problems, money problems, marriage problems, health problems. I know we’re all kinda stressed, because life is busy and throws stuff at us every day. Some of us have good news, and some of us have sad news.

Romans 12:15 says “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” I can’t think of a better way to do community than that. There will never be a time when both happy and difficult things aren’t happening in our lives.

I want to hear your good news, even if juxtaposed against my hard news. I will be happy with you and for you! I don’t want you to downplay your joy, just because, at that exact moment, my news is different. We will rejoice together!

If you have hard news, I will cry with you and come alongside you in your sorrow, and together we will remember that joy will return.

There is richness in sharing each other’s highs and lows. It adds depth to our happiness, not unlike the way that residual income adds to our wealth. It is an additional revenue of highs and lows, expanding our lives beyond the boundaries of our personal experiences.

I’m about to go into the kitchen to get my pasta sauce started, before leaving it to simmer for the next several hours. I will fuss a minute over my home being welcoming and tidy, but just for a minute. No one is coming here to see my home. I will spend a minute in the mirror, but just enough to look refreshed. No one is drawn here by my beauty.

What draws us together is the friendship. The history we have built, layer by layer, in sharing each other’s joys and sorrows. These are shoulders I have cried on, friends I have laughed with, and vice versa.

Community is a vital ingredient to a happy, fulfilled life. God didn’t intend for us to do life alone. In community we compound our happiness and share the burden of struggle.