Living in community, that's a phrase I've tossed around a lot.
From college, to married life, to moving in with Nick and Beth...and now here on our tiny island....I am still learning what it looks like and feels like to "live in community".
Tonga is a tiny place...the whole country is made up of 100,000 people and 70,000 of those people all live on Tongatapu, which is the main island group. The other 30,000 of us are spread out in Ha'apai, Vava'u, and the Niuas.
Im almost positive I know all 10,000 or so people that live on Vava'u. :)
This is weird, this is hard, this living in community stuff. (and I'm a palangi, I get free passes all the time...)
I have never lived like this before. Everyone knows everything I do, everything I say. And, the longer we are here, the more I know everything about everybody else!
In so many ways, I see a sense of comfort and love in this knowing and being known. There is an honesty that exists that is sometimes uncomfortable for me, but that seems real and good and healthy.
Sometimes I see that people are stuck though, because of this being known. Afraid to try and fail, afraid to become something different than who they are already known to be.
Sometimes I love how small this community is. How something I do in town makes it back to the island before I do. Sometimes I feel like my privacy is invaded. (a few months back I had to go to the clinic for a health issue, and not more than a day later I received a text from a fellow volunteer asking if I was okay. Turns out the taxi driver is quite the little gossip.)
There is a beauty here, in this communal living. I find it moving and touching and challenging and frightening. But I think it is right. I think it is what He intended. So I am trying to embrace even the most uncomfortable parts of it, to open my doors wide and let people in.
Below is something I have meditated on quite a bit these past weeks.
"Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable and overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor." James 3:17-18