Sometime ago I wrote a short article for an online magazine about maintaining community in the midst of a life that has me constantly on the road. I talked about it not being an easy journey, but that it was indeed possible if one was intentional. Lately I have been reminded of those words as I work to build community, to build a home, here in Rwanda. Community is something that is found and built; it is not happenstance. In takes time – it is an investment. It takes perseverance to find, to build, to maintain. Sometimes there is a precious gift of stepping into a community that is waiting for you and welcomes with open arms. Even then, it takes time to make it your own.
I do not know any perfect formula for this process – but there are a few things I will do until I fall into bed exhausted. Coffee dates, weekly meetings (Bible studies, pub quizzes, long walks – whatever it is that works for you), and gathering over food in my home. It does not take a grand excuse for people to gather – sometimes a small one is even better – it is just an excuse to share in a piece of life together. And from there shared history begins.
I smile because on Sunday some of us gathered for a picnic in my backyard. It is dry season and the grass is dry and the little ants wanted our food. But it was sunny and warm and conversations drowned the music. In that moment, there was a piece of shared history. Maybe when the rains start, we will gather inside over soup and think back to that time we lounged under the shade tree when the sun made the afternoon hot.
As I write this, a Jars of Clay song came on, and smiled at how perfect it is for today’s thoughts, “In the shelter of each other, we will live.” May we all be so blessed that this would be true for us.