I am blessed to have a community of thoughtful, intentional friends in my life. Through this valley, I have been reminded over and over again of the importance of community through conversations over coffee, through emails articulating and challenging beliefs and passions, through shared tears and struggles, and through writings of others.
I am thankful that I have friends who do not allow me to be alone in the struggle but join me, challenge me, affirm me, and question me. I have friends who enter the mess with me rather than watching from a distance, reminding me of my mess. I have friends who actively work to support me and help me out of the valley. This past week I have had many reminders of the importance of community and I am excited to begin sharing what I am learning in this journey.
Last night, my room mate shared a beautiful piece of writing that I had never heard before. She read it before our community meal together and it felt fitting to enter a space of vulnerability and openness with this poem.
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
So, friends, in community I am reminded of these things. I am reminded of what is important and what I need to seek out during this time of struggle. I am invited to ponder what really sustains me from the inside, to reflect on Beauty and life, to sit in pain when it feels impossible to do so, and to work to enjoy the company I keep in the empty moments. I am blessed with a community that extends this invitation. And friend, you are invited too.