Thursday, September 19, 2013

Everybody Needs a Place to Land

Sometimes, you don't know what you've got until it's gone; sometimes you don't know what you have until you have it. This is especially the case with living life as part of a community. 

We said hello to Poppy a year ago, and the time surrounding her birth is full of joy--of course--but also full of really, seriously, truly difficult times. We pretty much covered everything on the "most stressful" list besides divorce--job loss, moving, start of school for Soren, surgery for me and then hospitalization for Poppy just days after her birth. Then, as if we hadn't had enough: ambulance rides, Children's Hospital, emergency surgery and double arm casts after a birthday party gone wrong. All within a MONTH! Times were tough to say the least and we quickly realized we could not do it alone.

For years, we had slowly drifted away from living life as part of a community. We moved out to the middle of nowhere, on a beautiful piece of property where my children could explore nature and pick veggies from our garden and eat their snacks right from the branches of the trees in our orchard. Karl was building furniture everyday in a shop right across a little creek from our house. In many ways it was a ridiculously idyllic way of life--living off the land and always together as a family. The memories I hold from that time in life are both really beautiful and really dark. It’s what we had always wanted, except that we felt ourselves feeling really, really alone.

The surprising part is that as we were getting more and more isolated, we felt more and more OK on our own. We talked ourselves into believing that we didn't need any one else. No one could understand what we were going through (or so we told ourselves.) We let so many things get in the way of opening ourselves up to real, honest, authentic relationships--our house not looking the way we wanted it to; we were too tired; "those people" weren't "our kind of people"; the kids need their sleep...blah, blah, blah. We kept a long list so as to not ever run out of ways we could close ourselves off from community.

Then all of the sudden, our house looked like we had just moved in; we looked like we just had 3 hospital stays in 2 weeks; I looked like I was recovering from surgery; we couldn't make ourselves a simple meal or care for all of our kids and all of those hang ups went up in smoke.

And that's when we said hello to the end of ourselves and hello to the grace of God through community. It is through the really hard, shit-hitting-the-fan times in life that we truly reach the end of ourselves and have no other option but to let people in. To let God love us through meals made, sorting socks and unpacking boxes, a listening ear and just plain and simple showing up.

Sometimes we can get so accustomed to living life in isolation that we don't know what community looks like anymore. That is where I was before my life somehow became a crazy mess. I felt OK until I wasn't. I was not meant to love life alone, and guess what--none of us are.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Hi Erin! My name is Heather and I just wanted to know if you would be willing to answer a question about your blog! Please email me whenever you get a free moment at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com :-)