June 2021: Community
Our newest Ministerial Intern, Yvette Trujillo, is jumping in! Hallelujah!
The process of visioning for our return to in person gatherings was a profound one for me. I became a member of the Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living in the middle of the pandemic. I didn’t really think about it at the time, but that was a really strange way to enter a new community. I participated in several Spirit Groups on Zoom but I had a really hard time feeling like I was a part of the community.
The challenge of feeling like I wasn’t really a part of things didn’t really come so much as a surprise, but more of a disappointment… as in, not again!
I’ve considered myself to be a shy introvert most of my life. I think I came by it honestly; I grew up really isolated on a little pecan farm south of Las Cruces and even though we weren’t that far from the center of town, I was pretty sheltered and I really only had one close friend. Living that remotely created quite a bit of loneliness for me. Even though I lived in the same house and the same town my entire childhood, I never felt like I fit in. The summer after my high school graduation I left home, and ever since then I’ve been searching for somewhere I belonged; my very own community.
When it came time to pick a word from the word cloud to write about, it made sense to me that what jumped off the page was the beautiful, fuchsia word, community. I resisted hard though, because I thought, what the heck do I know about community? I’ve struggled with feeling like I was a part of one my whole life! But that word insisted and so here I am, warts and all.
I’ve been on the sidelines most of my life. When I become a part of things, it’s always with at least one little toe out, but mostly only with one little toe in. I’ve only jumped in fully a couple times in my life and that’s because it feels safer to be on the sidelines.…. I have an out. The story I told myself was that if I leave, it won’t hurt or disappoint anyone because I was never really in.
So, here’s what I know: the times when I have jumped in with both feet are the times when I’ve felt most alive, most engaged, most loved and most like I belonged. What I’ve learned is that community and belonging, much like love, are best when they are treated like verbs. I was expecting that belonging to a community would just happen, simply because I was showing up. I didn’t realize for a very long time that community is something you give yourself to and that you work at.
I remember when I first discovered Science of Mind at the Seattle Center for Spiritual Living, it was months and maybe even years later that I would leave in tears because although I loved and so resonated with the message and I couldn’t wait to get there on Sunday morning, when I left, I felt so alone, and it felt like it wasn’t really my community… I didn’t belong. For a long time, I blamed them. I said they were unfriendly or they were cliquish, but the truth was, I was sitting on the sidelines with most of me out.
A community is a living breathing thing and it needs each of us in order to thrive, and we need it. After so much time isolated during the pandemic what I learned about myself is that I want people in my life… in close proximity so I can look into their eyes and reach out and touch or embrace them. Yes, community, relationships and belonging, they can be messy and challenging, and it might be easier to leave if you aren’t fully in, but so much more is available to you and to everyone that enters our doors if YOU are in it.
The Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living is my community. I’m jumping in. I hope you’ll join me.