The Importance of Community
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I'm there with them." (Matt. 18:20, CEB)
After two years of having to live with COVID, I think all of us have learned a lot about ourselves. For example, I’m naturally an introvert. I prefer to listen and observe rather than speak or be the center of attention. I always assumed those inclinations would make me perfectly suited for the kinds of isolation and solitude that’ve marked so much of the COVID era. To my surprise, however, I discovered instead how much I depend on community and on the presence of others.
This self-realization became especially clear to me when I recently had to spend a couple weeks at home with a work-related back injury. I expected to be excited about the time to catch up on rest. But instead, I felt so lonely, isolated, and depressed without my co-workers and the people I care for at the nursing home. I started to question my self-worth and importance, and couldn’t wait to get back to work, because being alone just amplified all of those false messages that to some degree float around in all of our brains.
As my family cared for me and my co-workers reached out with phone calls and texts, I was reminded how all my communities still cared about me and included me even when I had to be away for a while. I felt valued and loved, and those joyful feelings were magnified even more when I was finally able to get back to work. It felt especially good to be able again to love and care for those who had loved and cared for me.
COVID has robbed us all of so many things, but perhaps one gift it has offered to me at least is a deeper realization of how important community is to me. Community isn’t perfect; we all sometimes rub each other the wrong way. But I won’t take it for granted ever again, whether it comes to work, family, or the ability to gather together as a church congregation. I’ve learned that we all need other people just as much as I need sunshine.
Dear God, thank you for the many people who surround me and love me. Help me to always appreciate them and love them back. Amen.
The people of Grace reflect on the One Body of Christ for the 2022 Lenten Devotional. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily for a new reflection.