"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds . . ." Wm Shakespeare

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Living in Community

While we all spend so much of our time trying to be happy, the indesputible fact is, this world is really just a sad, sad place at times.

Being a PSW (Personal Support Worker) is a great job. I meet some amazing people, most are in the community living in their own homes, some are in Retirement Homes and others are in Long Term Nursing Homes. 

At the beginning of July I went to work at a local Retirement Home and I was looking forward to seeing all my little old ladies and men. 

The evening began in the usual way, I arrived, signed in, said hello to the staff and a few of the elderly who were lingering in the foyer. Then I entered the elevator to head up to the 2nd floor and there it was, a sign on the wall, a sign I really hate to see, the announcement of the death of a resident. While I expect to see them periodically, this one caught me off guard, it was the death of a grand lady I've known since I was 28 years old. So, I got back off the elevator and sat down with the staff to have my crying jag, then wiped the tears off my face and went about my job.

As I cared for each person on my task list, they all had something to say about Hannah. It was just as important for them to share their stories with me as it was for me to hear them.

A pastor friend of mine likes the saying "a problem shared is a problem halved" and tonight, at the end of my shift, I realized while we shared our stories, we shared our grief with each other and all felt the grief had been lifted, our grief had been 'halved'.

I've been learning about the importance of living in community, of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and transparent with others. This is one of those lessons. Being involved with people is messy at times and sometimes I would rather live alone on an island. But as my mind is awakened to the idea of living in community with others and sharing lives, in the midst of the messiness lies a wealth of caring that both make us stronger yet allows us to be weak. As we lean on one another in the mutual sharing of our lives in community, we give and receive strength when needed.

I have not figured this all out. Most take it for granted, it's what people do without even thinking about it. In truth, I have shied away from it, attributing my love of solitude to being an introvert. But, I'm beginning to be aware of the joy of being and living in community and how it outweighs the loneliness of sorrow, disappointment and betrayal when we bear the burden alone. Sharing life with others who experience the same pains is exactly 'a problem/grief shared is a problem/grief halved' and if ever we needed life's difficulties halved, now is the time.

It's what all the 'one another' verses in the Bible are about. Bearing one anothers burdens, being involved, living in community. We all have something to give others in their need and we all have need of receiving from others when we are in need.

God bless you on your own journey of living in community and sharing both the joys and sorrows.

Girl on a Journey of discovery . . . .