The show was on in the background during snippets of my childhood, but I caught enough to see Norm belly up to the bar on many an occasion, ready to spill a few troubles while he downed a few drinks. The most popular line of the show’s theme song, Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, is our tagline for this month’s series, Community.
I’ve experienced what it’s like to be known and loved in all of my complexity–strengths and weaknesses, achievements and failures. But I’ve also drifted through seasons of not feeling known at all–not being in close, connected relationships with other believers. Being disconnected makes the hard harder, the solitary moments lonelier, and the celebrated ones not quite as wonderful as they should be.
Community is a wonderful thing. But making good friends and close connections is a process that took time and sometimes felt risky. And frightening. Sometimes the people we love best hurt us. Yet, ironically, those same people can be our biggest fans, loudest encouragers and greatest allies. It takes a little faith to wade into the complexity of could-be friendships to test the waters, and even more faith and commitment to stick it out through differences and misunderstandings that inevitably come. At the end of the day, I’ve decided that the choppy exchanges, failed attempts, and strong currents encountered along the way were worth the treasure I found in the process. Relationships don’t always work the way we hope they will, but when you find a kindred spirit who is committed to journeying alongside you come thick or thin, hang on to that.
And if you haven’t tested the waters lately, try connecting with someone this week. It could be a perfect day for swimming.