United Pursuit Band came and visited Judge’s house, which also happens to be my church, in January. They said one thing that really stuck with me. They told those gathered to worship that if you aren’t in a thriving community, it is worth moving across the country to be in one. I think that is very true to a certain extent, if you believe community is bound by physical location.
As a girl who left pieces of her heart in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Princeton, New Jersey Oxford, England and Amman, Jordan and now Ocean Grove, New Jersey I know that a community that the Lord builds is beyond geographical locations. My mother told me freshmen year in my prideful frustration upon not yet having a community forged in Georgia “A true friendship is built on a pound of salt” This is one of those elusive southern sayings that you can never really define, but the general idea is that deep-carved friendships are only built day by day and year by year. You can’t rush or force that sort of thing, for sure. The community I have from my church back home at the Crossing is extraordinary. We really have known each other since we were little children and have grown up in the Lord and been together in His presence enough to know each other very well. At times this friend group has made me complacent at times to meeting new people in new places, because I know that no group will ever be quite like this one #repent (can you repent with a hashtag?). I’m also very comfortable forming communities, but not yet humbled enough to join one after it is created #repentagain.
Yesterday, my life-long friend Allison Lebo got on my blog and told me it was time to write again. Proving the over quoted quote on Facebook is true, sometimes friends are those who remember your song when you’ve forgotten how to sing. I found this on an inspirational website yesterday and it not only reminded me of my current thoughts but also my amazing sister living in a hut in Swaziland (read about her adventures here),
“When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child’s song to him or her. Later, when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child’s song. When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears his or her song. Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person’s bed, just as they did at their birth, and they sing the person to the next life.To the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. ”
I have been experiencing quite the writers block lately and I know why. I have achieved routine without a true home. I know what’s going to happen day in and day out and believe I can handle it on my own. I have grown comfortable but not grounded in a community in Atlanta. Yesterday, I forced myself not to leave the city right after work. I danced with Christine at Atlanta Fushion Belly Dance. I visited Snyder Street to be around my favorite mosk and watch my favorite people and I sang loudly on my commute home amongst the monsoon of rain to Garrel’s Farther Along (so good, listen here). I broke my routine of life with real life.
This morning I drove to work and instead of listening to morning radio, I was awakened by Kim Walker’s song Show me your Glory on repeat. I also decided it was time to read the work of the greats to inspire me. This “great” being none other than Crystal Snyder (click here) and once again I feel I have found my voice again, in the soul of another on a very similar journey. Suddenly, I am bursting with inspiration and ideas in the simplest details.
Thank you, friends. Thank you sweet Jesus, for my community grounded in You.
“It is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of god, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself.” John Calvin