The Word in Scripture
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another. Romans 12: 4-5
You can’t fit in with people by pretending to be just like they are; you fit in by engaging in a dialogue about your differences, and by putting aside the assumption that your way of life is in any way preferable to theirs.
-Andrew Solomon (Far and Away: How Travel Can Change the World)
As I write this devotional, my husband and I have picked up our new RV that we will be living in and are driving across Iowa. Life is changing. We sold our home and purged many of our belongings. The act of simplifying is another devotion, today I am thinking of the new community we will be living in and how we will be doing Life Together with others.
We raised our kids camping in national forest, primarily in tents and a modest pop-up. You didn’t see many people this way and our aim was to unplug and get-away. Growing up, I spent a lot of time in campgrounds. We didn’t fly or stay in hotels when going on family vacations to Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon or even Disneyland. Last night, staying in a campground in Iowa, I’m reminded of the campground community I grew up experiencing and will now spend my daily life in. We’ll be parked in an RV park where some are full time and others are passing through. It is guaranteed that there won’t be the “typical” RV resident. When starting out in life, many of us chose neighborhoods, schools for our kids and activities based on commonalities. Our neighborhoods were a certain demographic, our kids chose an activity or a sport and then you spent a lot of time with people that chose the same thing. It was often reassuring to find people who were going through the same life stages in the same way with you. In a campground, you are looking for differences, not sameness. Who has a different set-up than you? Where and how do they cook—where does the dog sleep? Are they working or traveling full-time? How are they living out their dream? Sure, it’s fun to see someone with something similar to you at times and can help to talk to them about similar challenges or joys, but it’s often even more meaningful to see how everyone else is living and you appreciate them more for where they are in the present. I feel a sense of peace coming over me as I approach this life. There are sure to be surprises along the way, but here is what I know for sure, I had become weary of always looking for sameness in community and trying to do things the same as the others. What was reassuring at first, could turn into a frequent practice of comparing yourself to everyone around you. You thought you were like the other families on your kids sports team, but then how did they seem to be doing it so much better than you? You were the same, right? I look forward to having an expectation of the unexpected and encountering the other as a way of creating authentic community. Where do you encounter others that are not like you?
God that created us both totally unique and designed us to live with others, help us all to create an authentic way of being in Life Together in our everyday lives of the workplace, the soccer field, on our travels and in our churches. AMEN
Make an Intention
Where can you encounter someone who lives differently or believes differently than you this week? Make an effort to reach out to them.