We all have different perspectives. Since no two paths are similar and the many souls of a community have diverged at a particular place at the same time, we must interact in order to pass each other and to continue on our separate paths. Some will decide to continue on the same path longer, serendipity will reunite others, and there are those who will go in polar opposite directions never to meet again.
We often forget that in community.
While we can and should aim to be grouped as one entity, we are each a part, on its own ... ships passing. I'm transmogrifying community to an image of lost travelers stranded in the woods. The baggage we each carry is all but light. Some could say it is all metaphorically equal, as it all depends on how you choose to carry your weight. You can let it overpower you and ultimately resign to succumb to it or you can accept it as a part of who you are and keep moving forward with the understanding that you can't drop the weight and wouldn't want to because it has conditioned you to many harsh realities of the world. And then there are times where our baggage can be lightened when an individual possessing the latter mentality walks alongside us and offers to bare some of our weight. We can catch our breath as this happens. And so eventually the first opportunity will come when the weight can be shifted back and it will feel as if the burden is lighter with the added weight because we have the new found resolve and peace that comes from knowing we have others along our side who are not only willing to carry our weight but do so without expectation.
It's the expectations that scare me the most about community vulnerability. Community and vulnerability. I read in an article recently that we can start experiencing love most fully once we finally let go of preconceived notions of what love is supposed to be. However, as I'm writing this post for a church that is The Salvation Army, I feel a justified obligation to factor in religion. God has already spelled out what love is, both in Word and deed. These are expectations we have for how transformative and fulfilling love can be among a community of believers. Yet these two words really do love no justice, as it's so much more than that. The vulnerability which acts as a vessel for love (to your heart, if you will) is met with acceptance from the perspective of someone you trust, who won't manipulate you. Trust is found in the dark when, ironically, there's no light switch to conceal the parts of you that you want no one else to see. It's hard to find your way along this path that one would hope leads to salvation, when you haven't extended your hand to anyone alongside you to carry their weight. In life, when you least expect anything is when it comes. Why is that? What does that say about love -- community -- vulnerability? Possibly, if we put down our armor (read: baggage filled with expectation) and catch our breath with this lighter load we will converge on a place (either concrete or abstract), a community, where we accept one another's differences and are drawn together closely to experience whatever incarnation of love God decides to put in our paths.
And carry on.