I have been spending so much time thinking through my feelings about community. I know I like the idea of being part of a community, however, I grapple with the challenges of being a part of one. On the one hand, I appreciate the feeling of belong and being a part of something bigger then myself. On the other hand, I hate the feeling of never quite fitting in or living up to the communal expectations. It is feeling like you fit in when so often you feel like a round peg trying to fit into a square hole or vice versa.
I have spent most of my life feeling like I never quite fit in. The one place I feel as if I fit is in my relationship with you. It is in my relationship with you that I experience that unconditional love and acceptance. Perhaps that is because you never ask me to leave a part of me at the door. I have always known that you love for me is unconditional.
I know I am not the only who struggles to feel as if they fit in. I hear this from my students all the time. It is sad that we have not yet learned how to come together as one body and appreciate the diversity we bring to the table. So often we police each other in terms of how we perform our sex, our race, our sexuality, our gender, and even our class. My prayer is that one day we will focus on building bridges that connect us and help us celebrate the diversity we each bring to the table. I keep thinking back to something I read in Jorge Rieger’s book God and the Excluded. It is a constant reminder to me that the greater diversity of people I welcome to my table, the more I get to know you and the ways you work in and through people’s lives. When I exclude people from the table, then I am excluding you and limiting my own relationship with you.
So today and each day, help me to welcome all to the table you have blessed me with. Help me to welcome the presence of you in each person who crosses my path. In doing so, I know I am becoming my entrenched in the community of humanity and those you have sent into my life.