Unexpected Community


ExerciseEvacuating from my home in Africa 9 years ago entailed many losses.  Leaving with only a carry-on meant the loss of all my stuff–my clothes, my furniture, most of my mementos, my music . . . my stuff.  It meant loss of position; I was a teacher without a school or students.  Because I lived on a school campus with most of my students, my fellow teachers, dorm parents, and support staff, we had built in community.  Of all the things I lost, I think community was the most felt.

God has been faithful in supplying people to come alongside me.  My family is an amazing source of support and love–even though we don’t live anywhere near each other at this point.  I know I can count on them.  My small group from church (both the former one and current one) are amazing places of acceptance and support.  My colleagues are amazing–they feel more like extended family than co-workers.  Lately, I’ve been re-introduced to a place of unexpected community–“my” physical therapy clinic,  Above It All Physical Therapy.

I’ve been to other physical therapists.  It was good.  The therapist was nice.  It was nothing like the practice I’ve been blessed with twice over the last year.

When I tell people I’m on my way to PT, there’s a basic response of “Ouch.  I’m sorry” coupled with a grimace.  I kind of feel bad for them because I know they’re missing out.   Being hurt is no fun, but recovering with amazing care and community makes the whole process so much better.

Some days it’s a party.  Some days it’s an oasis.  Always, it’s a place of community.  This office is a place of feeling known.  It’s a place of being cared for as a person, not just an Achilles repair patient. Kevin, Dana, Sharon, and Josh are amazing at what they do, but even more than that they have a talent for creating community in a place of healing.

I didn’t expect to find community during physical therapy; I’ll miss it after my last treatment this week.  I don’t recommend getting hurt, but if you do I know a great place to get some help.  You’ll heal.  You’ll be welcomed.  You’ll belong.  It’s a good thing.

Where have you found unexpected community?

photo courtesy of hddod on Flickr Creative Commons



4 responses to “Unexpected Community”

  1. That’s wonderful!

    I have two answers to your question:
    1. Our huge church. While church is traditionally a place of community, I have felt more a part of this church than I ever have a church. I feel embraced, loved and free to be me. Not to mention supported, appreciated and loved. It is so easy to serve and give.
    2. Our neighborhood. In this country full of suburban individuality and transiet people, I love living among this random group of people who for all our differences share one thing – we love where we live and take care of those around us – no matter how different.

  2. God blesses you and me because he’s a Great God and worthy of our praise. Since we have such a great God let’s give our all to being family to those we see every day.

  3. I was surprised by community in many places, some of which are:
    1. Le Club de jeunes l’Etage in Strasbourg where I did a 3-month internship. I really missed it after I left, and fully intended to go back and volunteer there, but then Sara came along… It’s an association to help young homeless people. There’s a team of social workers on the second floor (a l’etage, get it?) and a restaurant/coffee shop on the ground floor, where the kids can get lunch for a euro, or a coffee or hot chocolate for something like 50 cents. I’ve been thinking a lot about my experience recently, and wishing I could go back there. Always made me think of Cheers : you wanna go where everybody knows your name. You feel safe.
    2. In our neighborhood in Strasbourg. By the time we left, we knew all our neighbors, invited each other to parties, and had our favorite merchants. They knew us and we knew them. Miss that.

    Writing about this makes me realize that I miss community, like you’re saying, more than anything else I lost moving to this place. I’m excited because tonight I’m going to a members’ meeting at St Nicolas in Strasbourg. That’s the community we miss a lot.

    Mom O : Thanks for your wonderful comment. You are absolutely right on!!! “Since we have such a great God let’s give our all to being family to those we see every day.” I want to do this here in Waldersbach. I have a funeral to attend this afternoon…

  4. Very cool answers! Thanks, Ladies! I think you’re all doing a great job of being family to those around you. It’s not always an easy task, but I see each of you doing it.

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