I’ve had the great privilege the last two nights to spend time with good friends and just laugh.  There are times when friends get together and the emotional walls are there.  There are conversations, but you realize they can only go so far.  And then there are times when it seems like everyone drops their guards for a few minutes.  The conversations flow easier and usually at some point the laughter starts.  It’s even better when there is that one person in the group who has an infectious laugh.  Everyone will get themselves under control and that one person will lose it again, which causes the whole group to start laughing again.

There is a lot of talk in the church about “doing life together” and “living in community.”  Those are such nebulous terms.  Sometimes we take the easy way out and just call meeting together “community.”  But when that becomes the defintion, that type of community just feels empty.  This weekend is one of those times when I’m reminded of what it means.  It means letting down your guard.  When life is good and something is funny, you laugh.  On the flip side, when you are struggling or battling an illness, you share your frustrations and allow others to come along side you.

I struggle with using humor and sarcasm as conversation backups.  If I can’t seem to find anything to talk about with someone, I’ll revert back to those.  In the past, I’ve falsely seen that as conversation.  I’m realizing that maybe the other person is not hard to get to know.  Perhaps, I’m not taking the time to find out who they are and really listen when they tell me.  Building a relationship is hard.  Maybe, I’m the one hindering the full expression of community.  Maybe I’m not doing the hard work.

In the midst of all the introspection and working to be a better conversationalist and listener, I get these little gifts.  I get to see what it means to live in community, the good and the bad.  The sorrow and the joy.  The crying and the laughter.  All of these things are gifts from God.  May I acknowledge that all these little pieces are what it means “to live life together” and thank God for these small blessings.