They say that blood runs thicker than water. That’s true.
They also say that there are friends that are more like family. That’s true, too.
For several years I would have denied that second one, though. Community steam-rolled me down flat and I swore I would never trust again. Because trust felt like a risk, choosing to love felt stupid, and I figured if I just built walls then I couldn’t be hurt so badly again.
I couldn’t see that building walls would keep me lonely. I didn’t understand yet that building a bridge instead of building a wall would be the salve for the wound. I thought that closing myself off to the possibility of endings and hurts and betrayals would keep sadness far away from my doorstep, but it also kept away the joy of being fully known and fully loved.
One of the greatest ironies of my life has been that God used community to heal the wounds that community gave. I see His goodness shine through the brightest in the love of friends, through the actions and words of those who have chosen to journey together on the good days and on the bad, in the late night calls and the afternoon Sonic runs and the early morning text messages with a kind word for the day.
Community will come and community will choose to stay.
I’ve been without it. I’ve walked years with just me and Jesus. And listen, He is the very greatest friend. But He is also community – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and His bride is the Church, so I’ve decided that community must be extremely important to Him. If God chose to be in community then I should choose to be in community. Even when it hurts. Even when it isn’t convenient. Even when I have to work hard to make time. Even when I’m scared. Even when I’m tired.
Community may not come tomorrow and let’s be honest, if it came according to our timeline then it simply never would have left. There’s that slogan “have it your way” but listen, this is not a Burger King life. We don’t get to pick and choose every little thing.
But we do have the opportunity to show up. So I did the riskiest thing I could think of and I started showing up. And y’all, there were all these people, all these women of God who came straight out of the woodwork and showed me that blood is thicker than water and in Christ, we are sisters.
Listen, community will keep on hurting because, well, we’re human and we all mess up. But somewhere along the way you’ll meet these people who will become your community and you’ll look up one day to find that the hurts are all worth it.
They will laugh with you and cry with you and pick you up on the hard nights and you’ll listen to the radio in silence and just drive. They will show up at the celebrations and on regular Tuesday afternoons. And then one day you’ll think of the word home and see faces instead of a place.
Family forgives. Family listens. Family fights some times, and you’ll probably have some of that too. But blood is thicker than water and when you discover no one is going anywhere, you might just find that if you’re going to pick up the hammer and nails again, the only thing you’re interested in building is a bridge.