Honestly, community has been a bit of a struggle in the past few years as I’ve navigated various life changes and transitions. Community has not come as naturally as in the past and has required much more work. And yet, when I think of community, I see the beauty and the soul-sustaining power of it. Most fresh in my mind are the women who came along side me in my struggle with postpartum depression. Initially I hesitated to open up about it. I felt guilty, like I was a totally brat for feeling the way I did when nothing was really wrong. My baby was healthy. Things were going well, so who was I to feel that way, and why couldn’t I snap out of it?
It’s really hard to show others our ugliness, isn’t it? We want others to think well of us, to think that we are pretty, smart, thin, organized, and good moms, right? That we’ve got it all together.
So God, knowing that I would struggle and try to hide my feelings, put the most gentle, sweet friends in my life. He planted them there a few years ago when we moved here and He has grown our friendships to a point that there was enough intimacy there that they both felt comfortable enough to ask me about how I was doing emotionally. They both lovingly listened as I unburdened my heart about it. I was so blessed by having someone listen to my heart, to know me and what was troubling me. And even more of a blessing was that these women were brave enough to tell me of their experiences with postpartum depression. My worries of sounding like a brat, or just plain crazy just melted away when these other women became vulnerable to me. I no longer felt alone and their experiences filled me with hope. One even made a helpful recommendation of a counselor and both prayed for me.
As we get older and make various life transitions (moving, marriage, kids) maintaining old friendships and establishing new ones can be difficult. We have to be willing to open up, to show our ugly side to others. Without vulnerability there cannot be intimacy… because you just can’t be intimate with someone that you don’t know and letting someone know you means letting them see the pretty and the ugly. That’s risky because some people aren’t going to love your ugly and so you might get hurt. But you have to take a few risks to find the people who will love you, ugly and all. Otherwise you’ll miss out on the beauty of loving one another, ugly stuff and all.
Recently The Influence Network threw out the challenge to women to share about the beauty of community. This morning, I’m linking up with other bloggers to share all about, so be sure to check out all the other posts.