Spiritual Journey Thursday – Community


Since I moved from Bahrain eight months ago, my community has changed so much. I left a supportive community that began in the late 1800’s and has proceeded through more than a century of service and fellowship. The history is rich and valued there. The love for God and people was palpable. I was loved and supported in all my areas of life by the Muslims, Hindus, and Christians I worked and lived with.

Since I returned, my community has been limited to my family members who are close and online writing communities. We have not attempted to find a local church community yet, and sometimes I wonder if I will even do so. Yesterday I had dinner at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. Another sister was there too. We laughed, talked, swam in their pool, and ate shrimp scampi and homemade apple pie from apples that grew in their yard last fall. It was a delightful evening. I am tickled that I get to live near my siblings again, after living apart for more than forty years. So, for me, community has changed a lot, but it is still good.

This morning, I read a fascinating opinion piece today by Michael Gerson at The Washington Post. It’s called “Trump Should Fill Christians with Rage. How Come He Doesn’t?” I found especially compelling the history of first century Palestine and its parallels to today’s society. A quote in the article jumped out at me, since I had not written this post yet. It was part of his answer to the question asked in the title of the opinion: “It has been said that when you choose your community, you choose your character.” I decided to use this quote to write a golden shovel poem about my best friend I left in Bahrain.

For Vinolia

It has been too long since I saw you and quite awhile since we’ve talked.
Has Janna had a great beginning to the school year? You all have
been on my mind. I miss our ready chats. I
said we could get together and deal with the curriculum
that the church school will soon need.
When does that work for you?
You can let me know. How did we
choose to go to Bahrain anyway?
Your land and my land were thousands of miles apart, yet
community was waiting for us in the Middle East.
You came north; I came east. Did we
choose to be friends? Or were we chosen?
Your friendship has built my spirit and
character, and I think you would say the same. Love you!

Thank you, Maureen, for hosting this month’s Spiritual Journey Thursday.

7 thoughts on “Spiritual Journey Thursday – Community

  1. Denise, this link between choosing community and character has me contemplating how each chooses or reflects the other. It’s like a two-way street: our character colors our community. Our community shapes our character. I hear a longing in your words for the community in Bahrain. I know it comes from the wellspring of love flowing from people’s hearts there. You will remain connected to it always. The poem for Vinolia is evidence of it – a beautiful epistle of gratitude for the gift of a friend. Yes, sometimes we choose; sometimes we are chosen. Not necessarily by one another but by God for His plan and purpose. Infusing the community with love is one of His preeminent commands. Thank you for your words and your heart, Denise. I am grateful for them. You remain in my thoughts as you continue to settle in your new community.

  2. Oh, that community that you grow into overseas. It is SO SPECIAL. I spent a long time missing my Greece community. But, just like attachment to parents or other loved ones, I did join my next community. I really like Maureen’s timeline of communities in her post. Your Bahrain community will always be very special…and it will be one of many. I just know that the next community for you as you extend beyond family is going to be fantastic!

  3. What a wonderful poem penned to your friend: “Community was waiting for us.” and “your friendship has built my spirit and character.” Those are great accolades to a wonderful friendship. I’m sure you miss your school community, but you’ll build community in your new setting.
    Thanks for your reflection and for this chance to get to know you better. If I’m correct you might be in my neck of the woods. We should get together sometime.

    1. Ramona, I think I am in your neck of the woods when I’m visiting my daughter in Seattle. if I was in your neck of the woods, I would be closer to my new grandson, which sounds tempting now! How far are you from north Seattle?

  4. I, too, question whether we make a choice in who our friends are or are we friends by proximity of place. I live away from my immediate family and have for 40 years. Yet, the community and friends I have are special to me. I’m glad you’ve reconnected with your family, but the friendships you left behind had been built upon a lifetime. It’s hard to leave that behind. I hope you connect with your dear friend over the miles while you begin to build a community where you are.

  5. Denise, leaving a community to which we belonged for such a long time is difficult. Being close to family gives us a start on building a new community. Just as friendships grow so do communities.

  6. Denise, I am sorry that I did not respond to your SJT post until now. It has been an extremely busy September. In fact, I am waiting in the hospital for my husband’s hip replacement to begin.
    Community is a word to cherish. SJT is a wonderful example of writing friends coming together each month. I do believe that we are a true community of friends.
    I learned more facts about your life from your post. Moving away from friends makes you long for them so your poem dedicated to your friend is touching. “Your friendship has built my spirit and character…”

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