Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Finding Community

Finding Community
from Doable Evangelism by April

We spend forty hours a week with our coworkers and often we barely know them. I used to chat briefly with a lady from our office. She worked a swing shift and worked from 3:00 pm to midnight. I used to chat with her as she came in every day. She had a disability problem and wasn’t coming in, but I always thought that she would eventually come back. Instead, she never did.

Last year, I found out that she had passed away rather suddenly and that no one in our office had notified us. I had worked with this girl for at least fifteen years, and was suddenly struck by the fact that I didn’t even get to say goodbye to her at a service. A lot of my coworkers felt the same way and so I offered to hold a service for the people at our office who wanted to attend.

I held the memorial at our home and tried to contact any prior coworkers who might want to take a moment and say goodbye. I even arranged to have our quartet sing for the service, and with my experience at doing religious services, I was able to make a nice little memorial in her memory.

The whole experience caused me to take a second look at the way that I associate with those in my office. I realized that sometimes I hardly even scratch the surface of getting to know people that I sit right next to. Some people prefer it that way, but some others like it when I ask them how they are doing this week.

One gentleman stops by at least once a week and updates me on his family’s issues. They have quite a few, but I always make an effort to be a good listener and I have found that just doing that has created relationship where there might never have been. In fact, when I returned from vacation, I realized that I had missed his updates.

If you were to stop reading for a moment, look up, and look around you, you would find that your community is surrounding you. It’s the people at the coffee shop you go to everyday or the grocery store that you frequent. It isn’t just family and friends. Your community is everyone who steps into your path of vision, peripheral or otherwise. It takes a little extra effort, a lot of listening, and at times extreme patience, but it is never lonely.

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