I lived in Texas for 3 months this summer while working at a camp. This is a blog series on things I learned while there.
Hullabaloo, caneck, caneck. WHOOOOOP.
If I had a dime for each time I heard the beginning of the Aggie War Hymn this summer, I’d have like $7. And I’ll be honest: I kind of liked it. Now let not your hearts be troubled. I still bleed red and black and love the Dawgs with every atom of my being. I’ve just learned to appreciate another quality institution of higher learning. Also, having a faux-controversial blog post title is a good way to get views. I’m not above a wee bit of skullduggery. But I digress.
Being in Texas the past 3 months, I met a fair amount of people who go to Texas A&M. Some of them are my dear friends. And because of our friendship, I began to have an affinity for the Aggies. If you’d told me at the beginning of the summer that I could stand to even hear another SEC school’s
cheer yell, I’d have called you crazy and screamed, “Go Dawgs!” It goes to show how the people you surround yourself with can change you in ways you would never expect. And it goes way beyond things like school spirit.
We are not meant to go through life alone. Adam had Eve. Batman had Robin. The Lone Ranger had Tonto. Living life in isolation is kind of like going down a water slide without water. You can technically still do it, but not in the way it’s meant to be done. This summer, I learned a lot about community. I’m more of an introverted guy so I really enjoy being alone. But if I don’t come out of that shell of aloneness every once in a while to engage in community, things start to go a little sideways. This summer, I found out that life is much better when you engage in authentic community.
We’re all different. We all bring different things to the table. We each have different strengths and weaknesses. If we live in community, we can supplement each other’s weakness. It’s kind of like a potluck. Somebody brings the burgers, somebody else brings the potato salad, and Aunt Edith brings the apple cobbler. But if everyone stays by themselves, they only have their one thing. And as awesome as potato salad is, if that’s all I have, that’s pretty lame.
I think we all sort of know that we need to live in community. We’ve heard sermons and read books and listened to podcasts that tell us we need people in our lives. But what I think we forget is that we have to fight for that community. Nothing good in life comes from thinking about it a lot. Real community means vulnerability. It means letting other people past your walls and patiently helping them take down theirs. It means asking deeper questions than, “How was your day?” It means answering those deeper questions yourself. Real, genuine community isn’t easy. It’s awkward and weird and scary. It’s a heckuva lot easier to stay in isolation. I know it’s my natural tendency. But opening up and letting people in is so rewarding; not only for you, but for those in your community.
Building community can look like a lot of things. It can mean making a phone call. It can mean asking those awkward questions. Maybe it means digging deeper when you know something is up in your friend’s life. But it also means allowing yourself to be known. It means letting people into the pain and the hurt and the crazy that is in all of our lives. And that’s terrifying. Holy crap, that’s terrifying. But here’s the thing: Letting people into your life makes the burdens you’re carrying lighter. Because they’re right there in the fight with you. Two or three people fighting something is a whole lot better odds than fighting alone.
So fight for community. I’m gonna be honest, it’s awkward to be the one to initiate. But I would be willing to bet that the people in your life will respond positively if you take that risk. Sometimes, people are just waiting for someone to make a move. Be that someone. Start the fight.