If you live in Denver, you know Broadway is a pretty major street all the way through the city. When I open my windows, it is really loud. I hear large dump trucks passing, cars rushing by, and people talking as they run or walk past my house.
Here’s something else about me: I love quiet. I don’t listen to music very often, I mute commercials when I watch something on TV, and I am forever telling my kids to be quieter. I love being home when NO ONE ELSE IS HERE and relishing in the silence.
We moved recently, into this house that backs to Broadway. You might think, since I really don’t like noise, that I am sad about the move. But do you know what? I would make the choice again in a heartbeat.
You see, we moved in order to live five houses away from family. Now, my kids have cousins that run up and down the street to play with them. I have a sister that is houses away to call when I need help with my kids, run out of sugar or need someone to talk with. My husband has a brother to help him with a house project and a friend RIGHT HERE to call when he wants to hang out. The small sacrifice of quiet that we made to live here is SO WORTH IT.
I have always valued community, and even hoped that someday we would have good community for ourselves and our children. I dreamed about my kids growing up and having friends that seemed like siblings because they had spent so much time together—and now we have it. To make things even better, another friend moved into our neighborhood just after us, and now there are 15 kids roaming the neighborhood together, making memories.
This community thing seemed just like a dream for so many years. I kept asking myself, “How do we find community?” What makes a person part of my community, and what makes a person a friend?
Here’s what I think I’ve learned about how to find community.
It takes common interests. The people in my community and I care about similar things. We serve together, worship together, play together and just enjoying hanging out with one another.
It takes time. We’ve lived in Denver now for seven years, and have been pursuing friends that whole time. We’ve been in Bible studies with people, had playdates, met for coffee, and shared meals together. We’ve invested a lot of hours in pursuing the people that have become our community.
It takes vulnerability and sacrifice. You have to be real. You have to share your issues. You have to forgive and ask for forgiveness easily. You have to hold each other accountable in big and small things. You can’t just let things get swept under the rug. You have to deal with everything that comes up between you—good and bad.
It takes intentionality. This community surrounding us didn’t just happen. We have spent countless hours together, and organized our lives around each other. We have invited families over for dinner, spent holidays together and we even switched school programs to be in the same one as our friends. Most recently, we packed up everything we owned and moved houses to be within walking distance of the people we love.
In our American, Denver, busy, self-focused culture, community can be hard to find. I hope that this week, we can all find a way to pursue the friends and acquaintances around us in order to find true community. I hope that we can all have the patience to find the people that are going to be there for us when life gets really hard.
Maybe you’ll end up with a house that backs to Broadway, too.
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”