The word community could mean a group of people who live in the same place or who work together, people who have common interests, people who think alike.
This is not the type of community I want to talk about.
This was my first commune-ity. These are the friends who knew me. The ones I played with, fought with, and leaned on. With these girls I learned that friendship means apologizing, and forgiving, and speaking the hard truth even when no one is listening. These are the first friends who became “my people.” They taught me the importance of friendship and the richness of knowing and being known.
Of course, we were just kids. We didn’t know we were forming the building blocks of friendship in each other. We didn’t know we were teaching each other about commune-ity so that we would know how to find friends throughout our lives.
These are the girls I played Charlie’s Angels with on the third grade playground, giggled over crushes with in Junior High, and struggled with life, relationships, and Chemistry in High School. These were my people for late night talks, school projects (THAT time line in 10th grade Humanities Class), MTV (Thriller and Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You). We went to scary movies and made each other laugh during the scariest parts. We were silly and obnoxious and we loved each other fiercely.
Then we lost touch for over 25 years.
Could we reconnect? We had missed so much in each other’s lives: marriages, divorce, children, mommy moments, miscarriages, marriage struggles.
Had we missed too much, I wondered. Will the gap be too wide?
As we planned our mini-reunion, I found letters written during those lost years. Letters that helped us through the first lonely months of college, letters that grew sporadic as marriage and kids and careers filled our lives. And these letters poured over with life-giving words.
You are a blessing. I am praying for you.
I know you can succeed. Don’t throw away the abilities and opportunities that God gives you.
I’m so thankful for your friendship.
And when the four of us finally re-connected, those words hadn’t changed.
Though years had gone by, and there were many details to fill in, our heart for each other hadn’t changed.
We were made for this type of community, for knowing and being known. We all need “our people” in our lives. People who know who we are in the depths of our being. People who love us for our strengths and weaknesses, who encourage and support us. People who are good for our heart, and refreshing for our soul.