I believe I should be making an effort to be present and engaged with Galway while I’m here, but the honest truth is that engagement is a tough thing to strive toward when I don’t want to be here.
A friend from home prompted me the other day to consider the ways in which I’m “clinging to home”. This reality - that I am, indeed, clinging - is a sobering one, but one that’s important to acknowledge. In my (biased) opinion, I’m clinging for a legitimate reason: because I value the power and immediacy of being near the people I care about. Nearness is incredibly important to me. And although I don’t have the luxury of physical nearness while I’m here, Skype, e-mail, and Facebook give me the next best thing. But where, I wonder, is the boundary between maintaining your community and clinging to it?
Blogger Mary Carver writes:
“The encouragement to develop authentic, doing-life-together relationships with people, the chastisement to stop hiding, stop being afraid of getting hurt – it’s all the rage, isn’t it? So we’re all plodding along, pushing through our fears, our nerves, our past experience that tells us people can be challenging and relationships can be complicated. We’re accepting invitations, asking hard questions, offering a hand or a hug to someone who needs it. But how do you know when you’re finally doing it, when you’re doing life together, when you’re living in community?”
That's my question. I've been trying to extend myself toward people for the past two weeks because I feel like it's something I should be doing...like it's something that's good for me. But the idea that I might find community here feels almost laughable today...so even if I do persevere and continue to reach for it, how will I know when I've found it?