What’s that, you might ask? Those of you who know me would guess martinis, chocolate or a good hike in the woods (not necessarily in that order). Life would lose some glitter without each of those items I must admit. But I’m talking about something so much harder to find.
I’m addicted to the surge of joy I feel in a community of people sharing their thoughts and feelings, their interests and their time with me. I was blessed because my first “community” was my family: mom, dad, and brother. That community provided food, shelter, and clothing but also love, patience, guidance, and maturity. The adults in my family saw beyond their own wants and needs in order to raise children who could do the same. My father relaxed on the couch with my mother by his side, as they watched television, read books/magazines, or talked about the world. My younger brother Cris curled up on the floor with a blanket, a pillow and our dog Puff, while I lay across a chair with my head propped on the back and my legs akimbo over one arm. We savored time, space and an intimate relationship, which could survive our arguments, disappointments and short-comings. Together we took on the world. And, that strength seeped into each of us making us individually stronger when the others weren’t around.
Although I loved school and succeeded there, it wasn’t until the eighth grade that I experiencedsuch satisfying fellowship elsewhere. A friend and I visited Highway Bible Church in El Dorado, California. I took to the fundamentalist Christian church like the proverbial duck to water carrying my Bible through my eighth grade year and on into high school so that I could study with others at lunch. My favorite night of the week was Wednesday for prayer meetings and Sunday was my favorite day, rituals morning and evening. I memorized verses and delightedin the lessons of Sunday school. A common interest in the Lord and the desire to build a life dedicated to Him drove the congregation of Highway Bible. Each of us was a missionary of God’s word and our meeting together was a time for communion not only on a worldly level but for the salvation of one another’s soul. Here I realized I needed to share the riches of my life with others.
Part 2 will be out by April 18