Community Wisdom

A call I received yesterday left me celebrating relationships and sharing life in community with others.

Some months ago I was pretty upset over a squabble between some family members. Like everyone, I want people I love to love each other, especially when it comes to family. I was praying about the situation, but continuing to carry the worry with me long past “amen.” I spent hours analyzing and strategizing how I was going to bring everyone back together in love and forgiveness.

When Tuesday Bible Study rolled around I shared this burden with my trusted group of women and shared how fruitless my efforts had been. As I conveyed all my feelings and heartache over the fruitlessness of the labor I was pouring into the issues each of them had with the other, one woman gently noted, “You’re afraid they won’t know you love them.” Her sweet comment went unnoticed by the others as the conversation continued, but it was a revelation to me. I was worried about being perceived as taking sides, felt responsible for helping them understand the other’s hurt, etc., etc. They prayed for the quarreling people in my life, then they prayed for me. They prayed I would trust God and leave it in his care. From that night forward, with the prayers and wisdom of these God-seeking women, I let it go. With a light heart freed of worry and anticipating God’s resolution, I took the situation (which I was powerless to fix anyway) and handed it over. I let it go so thoroughly that I hardly noticed the reconciliation begin.

Fast forward to yesterday. A friend called in search of more advice. She had a rough Thanksgiving as a result of a family squabble, and I was able to share my similar experience and how prayer and trusting God with it had relieved me of the burden and worry. She is not a Christian and as far as I know doesn’t spend time in prayer, but appreciated me sharing my similar experience and encouragement. So now Christmas is approaching and the family spat continues. She has been dreading a repeat, working tirelessly with all parties to negotiate a cease-fire. Sounded familiar. She called me for Godly advice, knowing I took my similar issue to God and found peace. As a result of the collective wisdom shared by the trusted women in my study group, I was able to suggest that she turn it over to God’s care, invite the whole family over to celebrate this season of love and forgiveness together, then refuse to entertain any more gossip-like complaining or backstabbing designed to make her take sides.

I could feel the relief in her voice. “That’s exactly what I needed to hear.” We talked it through and she determined to hang up, call each party to apologize for putting her nose in where it didn’t belong, promise not to say another word about it (or hear one!), then extend the Christmas invitation. I told her even if they all get in a knockdown, drag out brawl, there’s not a thing she can do to stop it.

IMG_3123[1]As I write this I’m praying for her peace and the forgiveness I know her wonderful family will eventually extend. Actually, there’s one other thing I’m doing. My friend is not a big fan of wine, but wanted to celebrate a special dinner with a glass. The waiter suggested she try a white zinfandel and she loved it. For her birthday in early November I painted a bottle of her new favorite wine. When Thanksgiving went to hell in a hand basket, she ended the day at a girlfriend’s house with that pretty bottle of wine. Just in case family unity takes a while, I’m putting the base coat on another bottle of white zin!

No Man is an Island, Tenth Avenue North

I won’t run, I will stay
I’m not leaving you
I know there’s friction here
The struggle makes us new

I wish you never thought you had to go
Wish you never thought you had to leave
Together we can lift each other up
We can build a shelter for the weak

No man is an island, we can be found
No man is an island, let your guard down
You don’t have to fight me, I am for you
We’re not meant to live this life alone

I see fear in your eyes
There’s no safety here
Oh, my friend, let me in
I will share your tears

I wish you never thought you had to go
I wish you never thought you had to leave
We can always lift each other up
We can build a shelter for the weak, come on

No man is an island, we can be found
No man is an island, let your guard down
Please don’t try to fight me, I am for you
We’re not meant to live this life alone

Through trouble, rain, or fire
Let’s reach out to something higher
Ain’t no life outside each other
We are not alone
Through trouble, rain, or fire
Let’s reach out to something higher
Eyes open to one another
We are not alone

No man is alone
Why you try to fight me
We don’t have to do it alone
We don’t have to do it alone
We don’t have to do it alone

About Karen Campbell

Life provides lots of experiences to write about. My goal is to share how God works through them.
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