| Rev. Carolyn Lesmeister |

When I was younger, finding community seemed easy. As a child, I simply had to go into the backyard and yell the names of the neighborhood kids until someone came out to play. School, sports, and extracurricular activities provided plenty of opportunities to bond with others over shared experiences, goals, and triumphs or losses.

I spent most of my 20s in similarly structured spaces – college, volunteer corps, and grad school – where proximity to people with common interests was something that could be taken for granted. Add in the fact that most of us lived in practically identical housing, and there wasn’t much to worry about as far as what other people would think of my dorm room or apartment.

Exposure to so many people made it easy to find friends, and if I wanted company for a meal, an event, or pretty much anything, I could always find someone who would enthusiastically join me. When some students would graduate, new ones would move in, and my circle of friends naturally evolved to accommodate these changes.

Now, however, community seems a lot more elusive....

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| Anne Williamson |

Invitation is tough. It involves risk, courage, vulnerability… Will they hear and like my ideas? Will he say, “Yes”? Can I communicate my vision? Am I a good leader? Appreciated member of the team? Does she value my friendship like I value hers? Does he value me? Will they care as much as I do? Will they be fair? Will she show up? Gladly? Lovingly?

Often, these are questions to which we’re not sure we want the answers. Past experiences, current insecurities, ignorance, all make us wary of extending that invitation, of extending ourselves. It’s far easier and much safer simply not to ask. 

For all we risk in invitation, though, the alternative is actually far riskier....

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The fall round of WAYfinding starts this week, and we're kicking things off with a discussion on community. Namely, what's the point? Why do we choose to do life with others? What does a community do for us - individually and collectively? What should it?

Maybe we gather to share a drink and a laugh? Or prayers? A listening ear? Maybe it's about service and the collective good? Or networking? Or worship? Or alternative perspectives? Accountability? Advice? Growing in love? Or...

Then, there's the question of principles - which ones matter? And, who's at the table? The list goes on. The key, I think, is to wonder and to ask. Not to fall blindly into community as it's always been simply because it's always been. Maybe there is a better way - a way that leads to more peace and wholeness, more joy.

What do you think? LEARN, LISTEN, LOVE... and consider joining the conversation at WAYfinding this week. Contact me for group times and locations.

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