Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Round the table...

...I sat, surrounded by so many hurting women. Women with stories. Women who were grieving. Women who were afraid to speak out, because what if no one else at the table related to what they were going through?

I watched as one grew brave and shared. Then another. Then another. It was a steamroller effect, as each realized they were not alone. They didn't go into great detail, because that would require another level of trust. But, I watched their shoulders straighten a bit as they shared and were not judged. I watched their eyes widen and grow a bit brighter as they realized there were others around them also struggling with their marriages. I watched protective crossed arms open up and reach out to touch an arm, give a hug, as they became aware of someone else's hurt and dire circumstances.

I watched wary, unsure women dissolve into loving, supportive ones.

This is the beauty of sharing life. This is the richness of community, the purpose of church, the desire of our hearts. Our tendency is to isolate, to pull away, to think we'll be judged, rejected, scorned for what we're facing. And, the sadness is that so many of us have experienced exactly that.

Which is why we're wary.

But, the beauty comes... the healing comes... the joy comes when we share anyway. Because our life isn't the only one changed when we engage. We change the lives of those around us.

I watched it happen last night. And as the sharing continues, another level of trust will be reached. Friendship will grow. Hearts will be mended. These women will march forward, leaning on each other.

That is the purpose of community. That is the purpose of church. Not mired tradition, but faith-filled freedom that brings restoration and full life. It is what we were created for.
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