Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On Community

Last week I went to my Bonco group to eat, play, visit and laugh with a group of girl friends. We get together to have a meal and then we play Bonco. After playing, someone shares a scripture or thought then we share prayer requests and pray together. It was my night to share a thought, and there had been a lot on my mind that week. I had a few ideas of what I wanted to share to encourage my friends, but couldn’t quite settle on an idea. One sweet friend asked if it would be my last Bonco before moving, and I realized that next month, I will go to what will probably be my last Bonco for a long time. That hit me.

Probably 8 years ago, a new friend called and invited me to play Bonco, which was something I had never, ever heard of. We had just moved to Huntsville, and we didn’t have many friends here. I thought, “Why not try it? It might be fun!” That first night, there were 12 of us there and we ate dinner and learned how to play this ridiculously simple game. And we had a blast. We decided to make it a monthly event, and almost a decade later I still make it as often as I can.

It’s not the same, mind you.

Over the years, our group has grown. So dramatically, in fact, that we’ve split. A couple times.

We’ve changed the night we meet. A couple times.

We’ve welcomed new members as people move into town.

We’ve said good-bye through teary eyes to dear friends as they’ve moved away.

We’ve welcomed babies into this world—lots and lots of babies.

We’ve rejoiced as friends got married.

We’ve shared advice and tips and tricks and stories.

We’ve laughed together, often to the point of tears.

We’ve wept together, sharing in each other’s sorrow.

We’ve shared our lives with each other.

It’s been such a huge blessing to meet together with ladies on a monthly basis. Even through the changes, I’m thankful for the relationship I have formed with all of the friends that we’ve played with—past and present. Even though we’re not all at the same stage in life, we all enjoy a night of food, fun and fellowship. It’s a neat community that we’ve formed.

It really is evident to me that community is something that God has given us as a gift. It really helps to meet some of our needs and it can help us grow in so many ways. There are lots of ways we experience—family, friends, at church. Especially as ladies, we have a connection as wives, moms and Christians.

I thought of this passage in Ecclesiastes:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one
falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no
one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how
can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend
themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Think about it—“Pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” How sad it is to me that some go through life without the support and encouragement that I have found in my sisters in Christ. I’m so grateful that I am a part of their community.

So that night at Bonco, I shared these thoughts with my friends. Out of the ladies who were there, none were part of the original group. I shared how the changes a group goes through can sometimes hurt, but it also can encourage even more growth. I tried to encourage them to support each other, reach out to each other and be there for each other. I want them to take full advantage of what being a part of this group can offer to them.

To close, I shared this verse that a dear, dear friend shared with me years ago. She had been such a friend and mentor to me, and she read this verse to me before I went back to college one year.

We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the
gospel of God but our lives with you as well, because you had become so dear to

When she read that to me it touched me deeply, because that revealed to me the model of how our relationships should look when we are in Christ. We should not only be open to sharing the Good News about Jesus and the hope that he provides, but we should also have relationships with people where we are not afraid to dig deep and be real. Ever since my friend shared this verse with me, I have tried to be conscious about the kind of relationships I keep.

This has also become the verse I share as I sort-of go through these stages of saying good-bye to all of my different groups of friends. I want them to know how much the friendships we’ve shared mean to me and will continue to mean to me even when I’m a little bit farther away.
It amazes me when I really think about it how well our Father knows us. He knew we would be social, and have a need to share and be with others. I love how he instituted the church, too, which is one way for us to have that need fulfilled.

It’s a good feeling when you realize that Someone has been lookin’ out for you. He’s got our back.

1 comment:

  1. Glad I was not there because I would have been bawling! Not looking forward to the good-bye...