As I started to ponder what I would write about after reading For the Love by Jen Hatmaker a lot of ideas ran through my mind. I thought about being vague with all her funny sayings in the book, summarizing the whole thing or simply telling you 101 reasons why this book rocks. But after reading and re-reading and high lighting, one chapter has hit the void in my heart. Chapter 16: Porches as Alters.
I feel as though I have been on a search for the better part of this year for a community that gathers on a porch/driveway/deck/living room and just does life together. No one tells you that when you hit your mid 20’s every one will be pulled in different directions and no one means to be selfish but starting jobs, families, figuring out to move or don’t move, change jobs or don’t change jobs ect…. ect…. force us to be a little selfish. We quickly lose sight of our community and getting it back is tough when the world is pulling us in different directions. Life happens all too quickly and we need our people to help us navigate it. When we have community dreams are shared, encouraged and celebrated. Hard times are made easier. My fortune cooking once read “Joy shared is doubled, sorrow shared is halved” Wise cookie, that one. We need community, end of discussion.
Jen sums it up best by stating
If Jesus is the heart of the church, people are the lifeblood. There is a reason He created community and told us to practice grace and love and camaraderie and presence. People soften the edges and fill in the gaps. Friends make up some of the best parts of the whole story.
Jen sums it up pretty well in my opinion. Not only does she preach it, but she lives it too. 3 weeks from now her launch team will be crashing her house. For one reason: community.
This past weekend I watched Lassiter High School dedicate their field to Philip Lutzenkirchen, an Auburn football standout, who passed in a car accident last summer. In the speeches that were given that night one word rang true: community. This town and that school (although a rival in my high school days and I refuse the cheer for them) is an altar for so many. You can show up to Lutzie Field at any time, on any day and you will see community. In a time where school playgrounds are locked up after hours, this stadium remains open for the community. When tragedy struck this community, they banded together around a family who needed it. Not only for Philip’s family, but for Philip too.
My childhood was awesome. I grew up with regular cook outs, kick ball games, and even a Fourth of July fireworks display that resulted in the police “stopping by”. We were a community. While time has changed and we have moved on, that community is still there. When my dad became sick and in the months and now year following his passing, those were and are the people who still call to see how we are doing. Our society is losing those memory making moments. You know, like times when the “grown ups” on the street launch an orange out of a water balloon launcher (cause why not?) while standing on ladders and you quickly get a lesson in Newton’s law of gravity. What goes up, must come down and you should probably duck for cover. Community is crazy and I love it.
I know the church tries with all its might to foster community, but it’s hard. 8 week studies are great and I know some have had life changing experiences in those groups, but I struggle with them. Single people in their 20’s aren’t exactly filling up church pews either. I’d rather sit around a bon fire and solve the problem of the day or just laugh till hurts.
Sometimes life is hard and you need people who know your story. The ones who show up and say ” I know this is hard and I can’t fix it, but I can sit here with you. Oh and I brought snacks too.”
I’m not sure if you’re looking for community, or maybe it’s permission to not be everything our culture is telling you to be. Maybe you need a good laugh and place to reflect on life. Maybe you have no idea what you need at this moment. What ever it is, this book has it all and then some. I can’t begin to count the number of people who have said something or are going through something and I have just wanted to hand them my book and say “read this, then call me and we’ll sit on the porch and talk about it over wine.”
So if you find yourself looking for a community like I am. Try looking where you are. A job, a high school stadium, the gym, church, the people you already know.
So in the spirit of all things fun I’m doing a give-away. I’m giving away a copy of For the Love because I just want everyone to have this book, these words and the love that is coming with it. Leave a comment to enter!