Longing for Community in Everyday Life
by Mark Votava
In the year 2000, I had a profound experience of extreme loneliness after I had finished college. I was uprooted from my relational network around the college I went to in order to take a job in the field of my study somewhere else in a new place. This was hard for me because I moved to a place where I didn’t know anyone. I had so much anxiety that it was hard for me to be at peace as I became depressed and lost a lot of energy to live.
I spent a whole year or so struggling with a longing for relational connection, peace, interdependence, and community. My faith in God seemed to be gone. I was becoming angry, disillusioned, and disheartened. I was wondering was there anyone in the place I lived that I could connect to and become friends with in the state I was in?
It seemed I was abandoned by God and lost. I was experiencing a dark night of the soul where I spent a lot of time crying in my brokenness and pain. God was leading me to see a need for some sense of interdependence and community in my life. Up to this point, I had not really experienced or seen what that could look like in everyday life.
- Individualism, fragmentation, loneliness
How can we be the body of Christ together in the day-to-day of life despite the individualism, fragmentation, and loneliness we all experience at times? I have experienced many years of trying to be connected to people of faith who have no commitment to one another, or to the place where they live. It has been frustrating.
- A slow turning towards a Culture of Imagination
Many times I have wanted to give up because it seems that all of our spirituality is lived out of a Western individualistic paradigm. But I want to encourage others not to give up. There is another path to a way of interdependence within the body of Christ in everyday life. And it seems that there is a slow turning towards a Culture of Imagination that God intended from the beginning of creation.
- Discovering interdependence
I have often asked myself the question, “What is life about?” I don’t know a lot of the time, but I am discovering that I need an interdependence with others to even open up the question. This cannot be discovered in isolation from others.
- Living into my context with more authenticity
The context of my relationships in the place that I live is the medium that helps me to discern what life is and who I am. I must resist the temptation to run away when the relational revelations come at me too strongly and I lack the courage to face them. These situations have the power to break down my arrogance and help me rely on God in order to live into my context with more authenticity and imagination.
How can we live interdependently with others in everyday life in the place we live?