I was asked in my counselling session to use toys and a large bin of rice to illustrate what I wanted my life to look like in five years. Who did I want in it, and what did I want it to look like? I had been trying to be so present-focused these days, it took me awhile to think about the future. Perhaps my out-of-practice toy skills were also a factor.
As I sifted through a box filled with toy animals and animated characters, I finally settled upon my answer as I set a tree into the sandbox of rice: community.
Marriage and children I could take or leave. (Contrary to popular belief, I do actually desire to get married one day. I may be single and not waiting, but I’m certainly not single and uninterested in dating ever.) I’m going to be honest with you, I saw the wedding dress and the array of babies and it crossed my mind. (Then again, so did the crazy looking gorilla).
Five years is a long time. And I surprised myself with my conclusion. If the next five years doesn’t include a white dress, I’m OK with that. But community? That is something I cannot live without. In five years, I might be single, but I will not be alone.
Who knew rice and a box of toys could offer so much insight?
I had a conversation with a friend the other day about the art community in the city where I live. She had often heard people say that it was lacking. I wondered if it was more a case of people wanting something they could be part of, but weren’t willing to work for. Something they could sign up for, without fully committing to it.
I wonder sometimes if we view community the same way as having a Costco card. We hear the word membership and think discounts, special deals, or exclusive status. If there is anything we are required to contribute, it’s a monetary fee. No one said anything about hard work or patience. That isn’t what I signed up for.
There’s no drive-through window for relational community. You can’t order a best friend on the side. These things take time and effort. Yet, in a world where we are used to getting what we want almost instantaneously, we are less inclined to invest in something that requires time and hard work. We call that a job, not a relationship. And we expect to get paid for our trouble.
If community is what you’re craving, then it’s going to involve more than just a signature on the dotted line. You’re going to have to contribute. It’s not always going to be easy, but it will be rewarding.
Flickr photo (cc) by Nathan Congleton