The week together was filled with optimism as well as a bit of apprehension. How would four brothers do with mom and dad? Yes, the potential for having fun was going to come with everyone’s arrival. It was also reasonable to anticipate a bit of tension, confusion, and competition. History would suggest that gatherings in the past had always included a mix of both.
So far, the experience has been very different.
The difference is attributable to several elements. The one that I first noticed was “space”. In situations where tension came in uninvited, one or both parties involved backed off a bit and gave the other space. As another noticed, they stepped in with words of encouragement while the flow of what was going on continued.
This was a new experience with this community. I am sure it has occurred with others, but for this ad-hoc community gathering it was new. I am not sure anyone thought about it. They were enjoying the experience! There were small bumps, but they disappeared with time and nurture.
I find myself wondering how far this could extend. As I look backwards, I can see glimpses of the model in times past. Between the lines, this process brought an old community together. As things began to gel, “with things back to normal, Paul called the disciples together and encouraged them to keep up the good work in Ephesus. Then, saying his good-byes, he left for Macedonia.” (Acts 20.1)
I can imagine teams and communities recognizing that individuals come with differences. A community that gives others in their midst space and respect is within our reach. I know it sounds euphoric. Until this week, I would not have thought it possible. Having experienced the reality of the concept working, I find myself thirsty for more. I may not be able to recreate this atmosphere anywhere else. I can introduce others to the experience by living the process. I can be an agent, trying to make a difference in my community.
I love the space given me. It made this week.