Once upon a time a life time ago, there was a unique small group-- I was blessed to be a part of this unique group. Not unlike a family, members floated in and out over the years, but once a member of the family always a member. There is a special bond that forms when you live life together and nothing can break the tie that binds. Something about living through the good and bad; lean and plenty; ups and downs tightly knits you into a lasting relationship. How many times have I heard one of the members say how much they miss the group. Each and every time I reply, "It was a once in a lifetime experience--never to be recaptured."
Then there was the group formed around the common interest of running. With age and injury, this group has certainly changed greatly over the years. Nothing can take away all the miles we ran together, all the laughter, the tears, and solving the problems of the world. With a wide assortment of athletic ability, some took the sport far more serious than others. One thing we shared though was the love of community when pounding the pavement in all kinds of weather. Oh, the stories we share.
Some groups come in very small sizes. There are relationships that span half a century. Though they change with circumstances, nothing can ever take away the hours of discussion and the trials and successes of life lived together. With time comes a familiarity not to be equaled.
Perhaps the nucleus of forming community begins with a family. The very root of where we learn to live life with others. The give and take, love and bickering, triumph and dismay of standing shoulder to shoulder with those of our own and walking the path through this life creates our first community group.
The circles of love and friendship in our lives is amazing. When we sit down and think of all those we are connected with in various ways it is amazing how richly we are blessed. Connection and relationships are what this world is all about. No two groups are the same and all are filled with individuals which create the one of a kindness never to be imitated.
In each and every group or community we are blessed to participate in, we bring our unique personality. What we bring to the table in each one is our birthright gifts. The role we play in one group may be entirely different from another. We are charged with using the gift which best suits the needs of each group. When we identify and fill the role we are meant to play, then the group functions at its best cohesiveness. Only when we all perform to the best of our abilities for our unique tasks does the group achieve its highest function.
Groups have come and gone over the years--some will be eternal--some for a season. God created us to live in community and we are responsible for seeking out the community which fits like a glove. Close but not binding--protecting but not stifling--warm but not smothering--I am always seeking relationships which fit like a glove.