To continue the thread from yesterday's posting, I wanted to take a moment to share with my readers the infinite blessings I receive from being in community with others. The term synergy comes to mind. When many people are acting in one accord, it is amazing what can happen!
Living in community with my sisters (and brothers, but mostly sisters) has strengthened me in so many ways. For example, there is something powerful and holy about knowing you are prayed for by others--particularly in those moments when you just can't pray for yourself anymore. You can truly feel yourself being carried on a wave of caring, love, and communion with God. It is amazing to me how a note from a friend in my mailbox lifts me up. I find it mood altering to spend an evening in good company with good conversation and good wine making plans and discussing life's problems. It is energizing to do practical "good deeds." Not only does useful work get done, but the end result brings people together in ways that create a positive, non-threatening, and interesting atmosphere.
Being in community with others also keeps me humble, honest, and focused. It isn't about others being grateful, it is about my own personal gratitude. Is my heart in the right place? Are my motives selfless or selfish? Is my participation a help or a hindrance? In the event I do get on my high horse every now and then, I have honest friends available to call me to account. What a blessing I have so many beacons of light on my journey. There is nothing more valuable on earth than a good, honest, and true friend to call you out.
Have you ever participated in a recipe exchange "chain" email? Well, group participation is kind of like that. You post two recipes and you get 20 in your inbox. Putting yourself in the stream of God's grace and allowing Him to bless others through you, is like being a ripple on a pond. The chain reaction of events goes on and on and circles back to you again and again and again. I have been so blessed by the wonderful women in my life. We have created many wonderful moments in the last year that have left lasting impressions on us as well as our communities. Every time we get together for work or for play, our own lives are enriched just by being present.
I close with a quote from a piece of fiction I am currently reading: "Mr. Simpless, my parson friend thinks [Grace means] that if one cares deeply about someone or something new, one throws a kind of energy out into the world, and "fruitfulness" is drawn in." (p. 116, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows)