December 7 – Community Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)
In my younger days, I rated a 98% Extrovert on the MBTI scale. Now that I’m older, it seems I’ve struck a balance. While I enjoy the fellowship that comes with community, I now find there are times when I need solitude while I reflect, ruminate and process.
I think the change came when I joined a three-year Community for Spiritual Formation almost twenty years ago. In that Community, I learned there was a time to talk and a time to keep silent. While keeping silence, I learned to listen and found something I had been hungering for and not knowing I needed.
Several years ago, when my own faith community had failed me, I found a sisterhood in a belly-dancing class. We numbered 25 women when we all attended. Our ages were newborn to 80 years old. We came in all shapes and sizes. Some of us were coordinated and others were rhythmically challenged.
I fell into the latter category. I couldn’t do the footwork and the armwork at the same time. But, it didn’t matter. We were sisters and I had found a sisterhood. We were led by a Wiccan. We had Christians, agnostics and Jews. We loved each other and we had a community founded on an unlikely alliance. When I moved several years ago, I mourned the loss of that sorority as if I had lost a limb.
Over the last two years, I’ve found a couple of other communities that fill my need for sistership and contemplation. I started a Women’s Bible Study in my new appointment and we are close! Out of this community has come Women’s Days Out and an annual weekend retreat at a nearby denominational retreat center. We laugh, cry and pray with each other. We invite other women who aren’t from our church to join us. The older ones are mentoring the younger ones. What a blessing!
I’ve also discovered a twice yearly group of women – lay and clergy – who meet for four days of retreat and renewal. We’ve become very close as well – keeping in touch through social media and e-mails. We quilt, throw pottery, meditate, pray, dance, laugh, dance and eat our way through our time together.
I look forward to 2011 when I shall join my sistahs in fellowship – both in studying the Bible and on retreat. They fill a hole in my soul for meaningful community.