February 18, 2012


The word "community" is derived from the Latin ~communitas~ 
which is defined as 
'comm'="with/together" + munus="gift").

community is the gift of togetherness.

The word "community" as a verb is defined as 
sharing, participation and fellowship

in essence, compassionate care can be a by-product of community.

"Those who are not afraid to hold a hand, to shed tears in grief and to let a sigh of distress arise straight from the heart of their fellowman can break through paralyzing boundaries and witness the birth of a new fellowship"

this past week was bookended with community. 

at the start of the week, a couple that is neck deep in their own fight with lyme dropped by with hugs and gift cards for take out from parker's favorite restaurants. we were blown away by their thoughtfulness and generosity.

at the end of the week, we recieved a boatload of groceries from lymies from local lyme support groups. we've been unable to attend a support group meeting since the boys got sick 2.5 years ago, so many of the names that were on the card that accompanied the groceries were unfamiliar to us. yet, these dear folks took it upon themselves to come to our aid. as someone who is intimately acquainted with the toll that one short trip to the grocery store can take, i can well imagine the struggle and sacrifice this was. 

it's humbling to be on the end of that kind of sacrifice. it's been said that help often comes from the most unexpected of places. it does. and those with whom giving comes at great personal cost and sacrifice still give anyway. they do.  

you know, pain is messy and it's uncomfortable to be around. compassionately coming alongside of someone in crisis costs the support person(s) something.

"Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it." 

when the crisis stretches on indefinitely and is lengthy, friends can burn out. their retreat is understandable but it hurts. have there been times along this journey where we have experienced that? yes. have we had times were we felt abandoned or experienced the sting of silence? certainly. but more often than not, we have found ourselves surrounded by a community of friends and strangers who come to our rescue. time and time again, folks have rolled up their sleeves and tirelessly waded into the wreckage of our lives.
"Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”   ~h.nouwen 

we are astonished and humbled that people continue to look outside of their own pain and struggles and choose to enter into ours. we recognize that it comes at great personal cost. it is an incredible gift and we are blessed and humbled by your compassionate care.

yes, community is a gift...
it is an immeasurable blessing of compassionate fellowship.

thank you.

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