Things We’re Learning – Lesson 4: Community

Wow – we miss all of you guys a lot!!! Friends, co-workers, family everybody. That has been the hardest part of this trip; definitely harder than any of the mountains we’ve climbed, or the questionable beds we’ve slept in, or the lack of showers. I miss each of you individually, but I’ve come to realize that I also miss community in general, having people.

IMG_4335I read an article once that talked about the most reliable factors to predict the happiness for an individual. Unbelievably, the most reliable factor was if they had a friend that lived on their block. It shocked me at first, but then I thought about some of the most content and happy times in my life and it was when I lived next to door to one of my best friends, Angie Jacobus. Rick and I talked about it and decided that, had Will and Angie not moved to another area of Dallas, it would have been a much, much harder decision to sell the house, and leave to travel the world… it might not have happened at all.

Not to say “It’s all their fault,” but maybe a little 🙂 Beyond just having friends, there is huge value in proximity – being located physically close. I mean Skype calls are fun and everything but it’s a lot more fun to meet the Carpenters up at Whole Foods for tacos after work. To be part of peoples lives on a daily basis, and have them be a part of ours.

We’ve been thinking about this and discussing it for the last few weeks and noticed a few things. First off, God created us to want community and calls us to seek it out. Secondly, even taking what the bible says about community out of it, human beings are just more successful when they have their people. Think about the most successful fitness and weight loss programs: Crossfit (group workouts that create strong bonds), Weight Watchers (group encouragement and accountability), even the new 21-Day Fix program is setup to have a coach and a group of others that you do it with. Think about the 12-step programs like AA, they are based on having a group of people that you share with, get encouragement from, have accountability to; there’s human connection.

P1190769That being said, we have decided that wherever we wind up living at the end of this trip, one of our top factors, if not the top factor, will be community. Not in the “good schools and nice parks” sense, but a place where we can authentically and deeply connect with people. And that those people live near us. We have been joking about having “meet and greets” with the neighbors, maybe having a “meet for coffee/wine” hour to get to know the neighbors, before we consider renting or buying a house. Community is just that important.