TITLE: A Return to Community. Part 1
By Val Clark
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I want to live the life of a hermit. A small, air-conditioned home, in the middle of a forest, with sea views, of course. I’d nip into the closest supermarket for supplies once a month and the closest church on Sunday. In. Out. I’d stay in contact with family via the internet.
Sadly that’s a reasonable description of the life I’m already living, in the middle of suburbia.
I teach one day of the week and work the equivalent of one day in the public library. I am committed to neither job.
I share a suburban property with three other people: my husband and his parents, and a dog. I spend my ‘non-working’ days gardening if the weather permits, with my nose in someone else’s book, lying on the bed creating stories, or at the computer writing them.
A degree of solitude is important for a writer. But so, I know in my heart, is community.
Spiritual abuse and its partner psychological pain have born in my life a desire for solitude. I fear that, if I truly enter into community again, I will be hurt. How many times can a soul cope with rejection and abandonment? How can church be satisfying when it raises more questions than it answers? When I constantly come away frustrated and alienated? When the emotional energy sacrificed trying to relate to people after church leaves me exhausted and can wipe me out for a day and a half?
I know, in my heart, it is time to move from solitude to community. From virtually being a hermit to becoming honestly engaged with the people I meet in the wider world.
How will I recognise community when I find it?
I turn to the One who loves me and ask Him to gently prepare me.
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