It takes a village.
We have all heard this saying, most likely in the context of raising children. However, in order to have healthy boundaries between our work life and our home life, a village or community is a necessity.
In our earlier articles we discussed how we must embrace both our limitations and our strengths. In some areas we will be in want, in others we will have a surplus. In a healthy community, both are shared without fear of exploitation.
Many of us have also heard the phrase that we are only as strong as our weakest link, and although our culture tosses this idea around, the more governing idea is that of competition. Many times in our striving to get ahead we leave behind those we are called to help serve. We rid ourselves of those who may delay our success and recruit only the healthy. This proves our ignorance when we fail to realize that we are not in control of life. Those that are strong one day, may be weak the next. It is only in true community that we can be fully human. A healthy community creates an environment that acknowledges our humanity. As humans we all have limited capacities, no one can go on forever. We also are diverse and in our diversity will have varying boundary lines that will be drawn. True community embraces our humanity and respects the healthy boundaries of those functioning within in it.
In order to have true community we must first have vulnerability. This vulnerability allows us to be honest about our needs and also of our strengths. If the environment is one of competition, then we will fear that needs will be exploited or that strengths would be abused. In healthy community our needs are met with understanding. In this community we will often find that our needs may be able to be met with the strengths of others. In this community our strengths are not hoarded but are shared in order to help others move towards health. As members of this community we realize that at times more may be requested in order to meet a need. Yet we are also free to express when our capacities are diminished and we are in need ourselves.
True Community is maintained and is proportionate to the maturity or its members. The community is not responsible for the health of its members, however it is conducive to their health. Community does not coddle or foster immaturity but urges the freedom to grow into responsibility and encourages it. Like a co-op of farmers, members of a healthy community labor together to cultivate environments of fruitfulness. They are aware of the factors that are inhibiting or decreasing growth and address them. A healthy community is not perfect and without issues, it is one that addresses issues and move towards healing. Members of these communities realize that being healthy is a process. One that requires both grace and truth for all members.
Attempting to have boundaries in a competitive environment is not impossible, but it is exhausting. A healthy community or village is made of members working towards health, these members can be both allies and advisors for each other. A healthy community may seem utopian in nature, however it is possible. It must be modeled and taught and it will require sacrifice. The effort spent in helping cultivate true community will see life creating fruit in their relationships, both at work and at home.
May we grow in grace and truth, may we compliment and not compete. May we sacrifice so that we live.
Grace & Peace,