My Vacation Taught Me About Community

Live in harmony with one another.
-Romans 12:16a

I just got back from a family vacation.  We all lived in a condominium together for a week.  We had two sets of people who don't normally live together, so we had to learn to be together.

Every vacation time puts us into a different routine, in a different place sometimes with different people.  This one was just like that.  No one or no thing completely ruined it, but there were challenges and joys.

Even though it was completely predictable, I was was caught off guard once by the difficulty in choosing what to watch on television.  Four out of the five of us are first borns, who like to dictate what tv shows will be watched.

After the first disagreement, I realized that I don't need to control what we watch.  And I was immediately set free.  The next time there was an issue, we discovered the second tv and split into two groups.

You don't have to do everything together.  This is stating the obvious, but I think being able to not only have good times all together, but to also be alone or in two's or three's; is all about freedom and gracious diversity.

In fact, the best times I had during the week were alone times with each of the other individuals.  The special one to one times, that went deeper and where there was undivided attention, sharing and conversation were gifts that deepened each of these relationships.

The all together times were great too!  We played charades together and we prepared food in the kitchen together (two at a time).  Sounds silly, but I told my brother in law, who made me my toast one morning, that it was so good, and that it was a special moment of the week; because he's a guy who doesn't cook, and he's never served me food before, in all the years I've known him.

One of us was delayed because of an emergency at work and we adjusted.  We had to rearrange our packing of the trunk plans, because we changed who was driving with whom.

We got lost finding the grocery store to get supplies the first night.  And taking 'the scenic route' for our day trip to the mountains, led to a couple of wrong turns and about an extra hour in the car.  

One of us got sick and had to go home early.  Three of us got back aches from the severely firm mattresses.  

But we had a great time.  We went through each small problem together.  We grew as people and we moved to a deeper place with each other, because we now know and respect each other more.

All these positive things are little.  But little things make for big things.  

A little bit of kindness.  A little change in loving others.  A little bit of bridling the tongue.

Little 'I forgive you's', saying you're sorry, putting others first, not taking offense, listening, having fun, being patient, serving others, talking to and meeting strangers at the pool, living in and being one who creates an atmosphere of unconditional love, and saying 'good morning' and meaning it.

It is all the little good things that make life better and it really reflects and connects back to God.  God is there with us, when we gather; and we can commune with and participate in God's goodness, even though that goodness runs counter to the popular me-ness all around us.