29 September 2009

not quite like anything else (reflections after a Gemeenschapweekend)

i've lived here for three years now, long enough for things to become somewhat normal. but every once in awhile, it occurs to me that the community i live in is a bit strange. this becomes more noticeable when we all do something together, like this past weekend when we had the Startweekend (Gemeenschapweekend - community weekend).

it takes quite a number of lists and planning to organize food, lodging, transportation, and fun for 65 people. but somehow it all comes together, everyone is fed, everyone gets transported around (and in a special child seat when necessary), everyone has a place to sleep warmly and opportunity to shower, and everyone can play. sure, there's the usual complaining that there's nothing fun to do. and there's the odd (anti-social) glitch, like a woman using up all the hot water before breakfast with her half-hour shower (in the men's bathroom, of all places). but it comes together: and we laugh, we eat well, we learn to take an extra blanket to bed the second night, we enjoy the time away despite the busy-ness of many things to do and lots of people, we tease each other, and we discover more who the others in the community are. and no one is surprised that it is good - the organizers do their best, and others help out as they can. i'm pretty sure God's hand was there in the goodness somewhere. (although the dutch might not quite say it quite that way :))

and so we made stuff out of clay and had a competition and watched a parade of tractors and told stories and walked and went to church and did chores and prayed. and i got glimpses of the gracious self-giving of many who willingly helped out quietly in so many ways. and i was delighted by the musical talents of some. and even though i was a bit dubious about the 'emmaus walk', (the idea was that just as Jesus came as a stranger and participated in the conversation of the 2 disciples along the Emmaus road, perhaps God would be part of our conversations), i did get a sense that God had been part of our walk - and that He had surprised us by coming alongside to delight in our discussing. i tried to see us as others might see us - and couldn't help but see that our group of 60, made up of at least 5 different cultures with 20 children moving in between all of us, must have stuck out quite a bit - and i enjoyed the idea that people might wonder about us and this different sort of a family that we represent. and i heard a number of conversations of faith and a striving to understand God and each other and our relationships better. and i got to hang out with little kids and play with clay. and i was delighted by the curiosity and genuine interest i saw in learning more about this community. and i witnessed the type of relationships that grew over years of being around for each other - and the easy laughter and comraderie that spoke of years of caring and being cared for. and i fell a bit more 'in love' with this strange group that i consider family.

and as i caught glimpses of the others there, i was once again amazed that i get to share in other's lives in this way.

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