Last week we returned to the theme of remaining in God’s love with a meditation on moving into a new house, the latest metaphor in the series: the branch and the vine, the image of a buoy, the image of a tree, the image of a shepherd, and the image of a rock climber. This week, I’d like to expand on the house metaphor with a reflection on joining the Common House online community.
The Common House
As I mentioned last week, at the same time that my husband and I were beginning our journey into home-ownership and renovation, the Sacred Ordinary Days online community was moving from Facebook to our new platform, re-imagined as a Common House with different rooms and spaces to facilitate different types of conversation as we continued to share our lives alongside one another. Little did I know when I received remain as my word for the year that this new online community I had found would have such a profound impact.
My adult life has been a near-constant state of transition, not only geographically but of course also psychologically and spiritually as I continue to grow, change, and awaken with each new step along life’s journey. This feeling of being always only temporary impacts more than just where and how we live into a space. It leaks into relationships and community commitments, as well. As I’ve moved from place to place, I’ve experienced both seasons of difficulty connecting with new community and seasons of disappointment and loss at saying goodbye to new close friends and not being able to follow through on commitments made in advance. I struggled against a defeatist attitude: why invest fully when we will just have leave at some undefined but not-too-far-off date, perhaps with little notice?
That’s what first drew me to Common House, an online community that I could commit to, lean into, receive from and serve, confident that it could go with me wherever I went next, as near and accessible as my internet connection.
Like this new house we have been living in for the last few months and beginning to make our own, Common House has also provided a safe, permanent space to rest, explore, and make our own. It has become another anchor, another touch point, another place for me to return again and again, another reminder of God’s invitation to remain.
There is a sweetness to this joint experience of remaining in a permanent house, both geographically here on our heavily-treed street in Kansas and online at a new social media platform. Both houses have taken some exploration and practice to learn to live into each space. Both houses have required change and adjustment. Both houses have created space for me to make my mark. Both houses have allowed me to slow my pace, to move slowly, to make decisions each in their own time, to nourish and rest, to play and pray, and to share space with family.
This experience of crafting and holding space both offline and online has informed me and helped me to continue forming and shaping the space here at Sacred Pilgrim, as well. I am learning better how to bring my full self to each space so that, whether I am meeting with a directee offline here in Kansas or online on Zoom or Skype, whether I am planning a retreat or recording a podcast, whether I am touching base with someone at a local coffee shop or with online chat, I remain grounded and centered in who I am and in who I am called to be. I remain connected to the vine, anchored to the ocean floor, rooted deeply in rich soil, nailed down even as I am prodded on, and tethered to an immovable object. I remain at home both offline and online, able to journey outward often and freely but always returning again to that safe space.
The Invitation to Remain
And now, fellow pilgrims, I continue to pray that we would all have the strength of heart and the gentle attention necessary to remain in God’s love no matter what obstacles we encounter on our journey homeward.
As we walk this way together awhile, I’m curious: what is that community or relationship touch point for you? What is your safe space when you are online? In what are you being invited to remain?