Monday, September 10, 2012

We choose community.

Prompted by "You Know You're in Community When ..." on (in)courage and thoughts of the approaching five-year anniversary of quitting my job to become a full-time momma on Sept. 14, 2007.

The kids in our community during a noodle jousting match in July.

All four of us in my house are social. We like playing games, sharing meals, writing notes/emails, buying birthday presents, and talking to our friends. Well, OK, maybe my husband doesn't really write his friends notes or buy them birthday gifts, but they do play basketball for three hours on a Sunday night.

I cringe at the busyness that comes with multiple extra-curricular activities, meeting commitments that come with volunteer posts, a large garden, and working full-time outside the house while trying to hold down the family fort. {Disclaimer: I'm not criticizing people who do choose or are required to do these things. I'm just saying, it overwhelms me just thinking about how they do it. And I know people who do it well. Trust me, I know every family is different and we like and need different things.}

For me, I was blessed to be able to quit my job because even doing it for three months with an adopted newborn made me realize I was going to constantly be juggling hesitations that I was doing either "job" well. That kind of busyness was going to exhaust me in no time.

Could I be diligent and dedicated to my job covering small-town news when it involved evening meetings away from my baby girl for whom we had waited? Could I be a good momma when I was lining up childcare when my husband and I had work conflicts that kept us both going in and out of the door? I could make it work. I could get done what had to be done. But I knew I wasn't going to be excellent at both this way.

Now, I'm not sure I'd label myself as excellent at this point, four days shy of when I traded my reporter's notebook for more diaper changes and sippy cups. But I believe I made a decision that was best for me, my husband and my daughter. A couple years later we added a son. And now the four of us are better off because I drew boundaries in how our live would be busy.

Yes, our life is busy. But usually only in the ways we choose.

We choose having friends over for dinner. Some friends from from farther away places and stay for the weekend.

We choose letting our girl choose one activity. Right now it's soccer. Our boy is still waiting his turn to become involved.

We choose going to football and basketball games at our alma mater as a family.

We choose church. And lunch with dear friends often follows.

We choose birthday lunches, baby showers, and organizing meals for a new momma.

We choose Settlers of Catan marathons with our best friends.

We choose to have play dates with family friends.

We choose our small group with others from our community-minded church.

We choose family bike rides to our town's old-fashioned, walk-up Dairy Queen.

We choose road trips to see places and people we love.

We choose dinners together around the table with the TV off.

We choose this kind of busyness that allows us to live in community. Together. With people who know us, support us, love us, encourage us, help us, challenge us, trust us, text us, visit us, eat with us, and share life with us.

{I've written about this community before: Small-town momma community. Here & now ... together. In Community (The Crock Pot Edition). Here in Community. I believe in community. My Help. Living in Community.}

I was reminded how real this community is when I've found myself missing people who live a few miles away but whose routines have changed with the start of another school year and we find our lives not intersecting as naturally as they had been. I knew this community was real when I found times to spend with them and their families on our calendars, even if it meant thinking beyond what we usually do. I believe this community is real because the play dates, lunch dates, dinners together, trips to the park, Settlers marathons fill my calendar but don't clutter my life with what seems like busyness. This community sustains me and the other three people in my family who are awfully fond of their friends too.

Do you know what I'm talking about? Tell me your favorite thing about your community.

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