Archives for posts with tag: Community

As I am sitting here, I am wondering if longing for something is healthy at all. Some longings heavily based on reminiscing seem dangerous. Dwelling on the past can be borderline sinful, something that’s concrete, at least for me.  It clearly is not God’s desire to dwell on what once was a part of my life & things or experiences I am missing. Longings. But have them I do so maybe blogging about them will help keep my thinking from clogging.

  • Volunteering.  I miss the support that being a part of a program provides.  I miss the deep encouragement of knowing that I had friends to live with & love 24/7, a job to keep me purposeful, a roof & amenities that I did not have to worry so much about.  I worry about all of those things now.
  • Minnesota.  I miss it for the above reason, but also for the warm neighborhoods, gorgeous gardens, “Minnesota-nice”, all the state pride, frozen lakes, feet of snow, the joy of returning spring, Viking-mania, Lake Woebegone, the Beaver Island Trail for biking, the parks & the tater-tot hotdish.
  • Living within walking distance of 98% of my closest friends.  College creates community.  Really good community, too, even when it includes many people you do not care for.  You realize this as soon as you are out of college & suddenly you do not know any of your street neighbors & your best friends are more than an hour driving distance away.
  • City life.  I feel drained when I am not in the city.  Maybe that is because of all the people, all the agendas, all the possibilities for good friends & growth.  Out here past the suburbs where it is not quite the country but the nearest theater is half an hour north, I do not see people unless I need to spend money.  We drive everywhere.  There is little community.  No one is ever outside, which is the worst part.  If I lived in D.C. I would find parks & benches & patches of grass for lunch or anything else I could get done sitting down.
  • Having a sincere, big-picture purpose.  In college, I did not need to think a lot about what my life’s goals were, or understand my genuine motivations for life, or determine my purpose.  In the short term, even though I grew to not enjoy my major, I knew my purpose was to go to school, do my work, pass courses, do things with friends, eat, call home once in a while, etc.  As a volunteer, a lot of what we did was dictated by the program.  Sure, there was more wiggle-room for figuring out my long-term purpose than in college, but when we were not working, meeting, eating or retreating, we were passed out in front of “How I Met Your Mother” reruns… my point is now, without much else giving me purposeful shape to my life, I feel restless, sometimes listless, unsure & doubtful about what happens next.
  • My own coffee pot.  I share morning coffee with my folks now.  This is extremely petty of me, but they like their coffee a certain way & at different times with varying degrees of mess.  I sincerely miss being able to make a pot of coffee to my taste & not have to worry about it all being drunk in ten minutes or a big coffee/cream/sugar mess on the counter top.  I have to safe-guard the pot when I make coffee nowadays.  But coffee is one of my prime worldly comforts so it is not that big of a surprise that I am so irked.

Also: I entirely deleted both Facebook & Twitter last week.  It has not been long enough for me to know if that was the craziest thing I have ever done, especially about the former.  All those connections lost, especially considering my aforementioned “community” longing, makes me think yes.  But they are both huge distractions while I job search & are two things I care way too much about for God to be impressed.

Smoke cloud from the WTC collapsing

Smoke cloud from the WTC collapsing

Today, most Americans are taking moments of silence to remember those two thousand persons killed as a result of the WTC, Pentagon and Pennsylvania plane crashes… usually with tears or at least a solemn respect for their lives and the loved ones they are survived by. Many of us cannot begin to imagine the trauma, the loss, the grief that thousands were going through as their husbands, girlfriends, and brothers called to say that they would no longer be together…

What if something as terrible as the 9/11 events happened every year here in America, every month? What about every week? How could we as a nation full of families and friends bear it? We’d feel weak, abandoned, maybe we’d feel like we could never hope again. Right?

I was reading all the blogs and headlines today all about remembering the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country, and decided to look up the American death toll since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq: 4,261 American troops have been killed in the past six years. Turn to the total number of Iraqi casualties since the war began, and the numbers are staggering, more than 25 times that amount. As of this week 101,539 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the past six years.

It is normal for families and communities to be torn apart on a weekly basis in Iraq. I am so self-centered that I’ve never considered such grief outside my own country, never before thought about the loss Iraqi communities are experiencing day in and day out, or how heavy God’s heart is for them when he sees his creation in despair.

Today I am solidly reminded that as a Christian, my business is not in morality or tradition but in being more like Christ. And that means expanding my emotions to places and people outside myself, allowing my psyche to leave itself and be concerned with the world as Christ is concerned and grieving over. Christ’s compassion and empathy is not just limited to me, or my family, or my country… so I will try to be like Him, and not merely remember America’s losses since 9/11.