I’ve been thinking about how fragmented lives are today. Maybe yours isn’t, but mine is in some ways and I suspect this is true for many. I’ve been thinking about this because my inbox is full of unanswered letters, there are friends I want to see that I haven’t in a long time, and life just feels too full. Full of good things, but too full nonetheless. And the fullness comes, in large part, because of trying to keep myself integrated into too many circles.
I was thinking about how nothing is simple relationally because life is made up of so many different parts and fragments. We have a church family, but no friends there. So we go to church and that is one fragment of our lives. It is a part of our lives, but not integrated into any other parts of our lives in any meaningful way. Our friends are scattered here and there in other churches and towns and states. Family is a minimum of a thirty minute drive and even then our lives are all so different and plugged into different activities and priorities that being meaningfully involved on a daily basis is near impossible and being involved regularly is very challenging.
Our work encompasses yet another circle of people that have no relation to any of the other fragments. They are scattered far and wide throughout the country and, in some cases, the world. Most of our clients we never meet in person. And while we have wonderful relationships with our clients, they are not a regular part of our lives. Yet another circle.
Circles That Never Intersect
So we have all these circles which we try and long to meaningfully connect with in some way. They all require their own effort, time, and emotional investment.
- We worship with one group of people.
- We are related to another group of people.
- We are friends with yet another group of people.
- We work with another group of people.
And they basically never intersect.
Praying for Real Community
The biggest part of my longing for simplifying our lives over the past twelve years that has never happened is to be meaningfully settled into a community. To put down roots and invest ourselves where we are. While we have tried to do that in some small ways where we are, it is never satisfying or meaningful in any large measure. When we have committed and tried to put forth a lot of effort in one particular fragment, it was often not met with any kind of significant response so we became discouraged and gave up.
In fact, to be perfectly honest, I think I would do very well as a hermit. Sometimes it is just easier to focus on home and hearth, David and Caroline, and just let the world go by. But I know that is not best for anyone in the long run and so I continue to pray that God will provide us with some kind of meaningful community. That we will settle physically, emotionally and mentally in a place where God would have us and we would see fruit borne from our efforts.