Monday, September 19, 2016

The Tie That Binds

I grew up singing an old hymn with the following lyrics: Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love. The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that Above.

I have been part of the community of faith since my birth. While I've not always been aware of how that reality shaped my life, last night I glimpsed its influence and felt its impact again.

We were sitting around our dining room table, enjoying a simple meal together. David and I had become acquainted in college through a mutual friend from his hometown. He was the layout editor for the school newspaper my senior year when I was the editor-in-chief. I only knew of Donalee because she and David began dating that year. I settled in the Chicagoland suburbs after college and married. They married and also settled there. We shared a few evenings and spent a weekend camping together, but we were never really close friends. They moved out of state and we lost touch.

Donalee and I.
Fast forward to 2013. TWENTY-THREE YEARS LATER. We meet again at our alma mater during the dedication ceremony for the new science center where my son would spend the next four years studying to become a chemist. Donalee and I talked about the unique joys and challenges of raising only sons. We decided to stay in touch.

Two years ago we began meeting online weekly to share our lives and concerns. We prayed over her son's choice of colleges. We prayed for my son's need for friends and community. We prayed for our husbands and we prayed for ourselves.

We live over 900 miles apart, but our hearts share a supernatural bond that had been initiated in personal faith and established during our time together at a place that holds as one of its core values intentional community and "doing life together."

Last night, those friends sat at our table and slept under our roof. We talked about our lives as empty nesters and marveled at what was birthed in the community we experienced then and didn't fully comprehend.

Experiencing community and "doing life together" is both a blessing and a curse of sorts. I feel the ache of their departure this morning. While I do not wish for the past (because that is not where real life is lived), true community seems harder to find the longer I live. Although I'm always on the lookout for it, last night was a rare gift, 27 years in the making. Grateful.

Who are you in community with today? Tell them what their presence in your life means to you.


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