*It's Day 12 of the 31 Day Writing Challenge, which is why I'm still talking about intentional community. (-; If you're interested in reading previous posts and maybe even following along for the rest of the series, check that out here: 31 Days of Intentional Community *
Sometimes I overachieve. Such as this weekend when I booked us to high heaven with stuff and now it's Sunday afternoon and we all want to crawl into our beds and sleep until next weekend.
A quick overview of the last 48 hours includes: cooking and delivering a meal to a family who just had the sweetest little baby imaginable, having friends we love over for dinner, and celebrating my mom's birthday all day Saturday at Stone Mountain Park. Activities not listed: grocery shopping for aforementioned events, cooking meals, baking a birthday cake, chatting with a long-distance friend who I never get to talk with, cleaning house for company, occasional showers, and keeping small people fed and clothed and alive.
All of this to say, I've been busy. And, on that note, let's talk about how to have community when we're keeping schedules that make us occasionally consider moving to North Dakota to live off the grid for a month or two. Or for always. We are all busier than we probably should be. And that makes it hard to have deep, meaningful, unhurried community.
As a card-carrying perfectionist, I get somewhat neurotic when things get busy because of my love for all things neat, organized, put-together and punctual. Busyness exacerbates this tendency, which is unfortunate for me, for you, for anyone who steps into my small tornado of perfectionism.
Friday afternoon, as I was somewhat frantically getting things ready for our friends to come over, I realized, close to half an hour before they arrived, that I had yet to take a shower that day. And I still had more vegetable chopping ahead of me. And there was a baby to feed. And a living room to vacuum. I considered not taking a shower and just wearing the yoga pants I was still wearing from the night before. They're close friends, but maybe no one should be close enough to make that wardrobe decision a right one.
So, I took a shower, and I felt more like a human being, which always gives your dinner party a better chance at success. But, it also meant that once our friends arrived, there were still lots of things to get done before dinner was actually going to happen. That wasn't ideal. BUT, the kids headed to the yard, the dads went out to get the grill started, and my friend and I hung out in the kitchen to chat while I cut up sweet potatoes and made sweet tea. My OCD nature was slightly disappointed with the fact that the evening hadn't gone exactly according to my plans, but it all turned out just fine. Better than fine.
The next morning my friend texted me to let me know that they'd had a good time and then said something to the effect of how community can still be great even when it isn't perfect. (Sidenote: She brought over a Dutch oven full of homemade mac and cheese that only needed to be kept warm in the oven. Somehow it managed to be baked an additional 25 minutes on 400 degrees.)
If you're anything like me, you can let your perfectionist tendencies keep you from inviting people over or from enjoying the time spent with guests when they do come over. I'm not free to feel joy in the midst of community when I'm so bound up by my need to be perfect or create a perfect environment.
Perfection is a myth. And it's a thief. It's steals significant moments from us by directing our attention to the details that are inconsequential in the midst of the fellowship going on around us.
It's hard, but I'm learning to let things go. To let there be dust bunnies under the furniture and small, greasy handprints on the windows. To be okay with dinner being an hour and a half later than I'd planned. To let go of the supposed need to look like I've got it all together
I'm trying to let insignificant things go for the sake of community unhindered by the trivial so that I can experience the unhurried, undistracted, life-giving fellowship you and I were meant for. Join me?