Choosing Community

Jen Bradbury
Mar 06 · 5 min read

5minutefridayToday, I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker‘s Five Minute Friday. The rules: Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

This week's prompt: Choose.

Throughout my career as a youth worker, I've taken a number of different personality tests. While some things change a bit from test to test, what remains remarkably consistent is the fact that I'm wholeheartedly an introvert.

To be clear, I'm not one of those people who flirts with introverted tendencies. I'm an introvert through & through.

This means that while I enjoy being with people, I find nourishment in time by myself. Give me a book or time to write and I'm happy as a clam, for an indefinite amount of time. I leave such moments recharged and full of life.

As I've grown older I've realized these tendencies make it awfully easy for me to become isolated. As a result, I know I have to be intentional about choosing community.

In community, we work out our faith. We encounter Christ. We care for one another, visibly and tangibly, in moments of both joy and despair.

At no point in my life was this more true than about a year ago, when I experienced a miscarriage. The next day, my mom came, just to be with me. A friend brought a blanket and food and then cleared her calendar to come and be with me the next day. The following day, my husband's parents came. The day after that, our friends came with dinner and drinks. Rather than force us to talk or even cry, they were content to sit and play games with us.

Despite having experienced the power of community in my own life, there are still times when community does nothing but frustrate me. There are times when tempers flare; When the busyness of life makes it too difficult to carve out time for one another; Or when the difference in life stages seems too huge to bridge. On those days, my tendency is to withdraw; To ignore the world and everyone in it.

Until that is, I remember conversations that left me laughing so hard I cried or thinking so deeply that I was forever changed; Or moments of grace like the one when the persistent crying of a newborn at work threatened to launch me into despair until a colleague and friend poked his head into my office, and said, “It's going to happen for you, Jen. Just wait.”

Those moments remind me of the power of community; They remind me that life is always richer when we choose to share it with others.