Community is a beautiful thing. For me, there is no more beautiful earthly community than that of our families and the communities of consecrated religious.
But God did not call all of us to lives lived in silent prayer or hermitage (I love St Anthony the hermit because a) he lived in the desert and b) was a hermit). In fact, He calls almost all of us to evangelization. And in almost all cases, that means interacting with our neighbors.
Most of our new neighbors are military (we live five minutes from the back gate of Camp Lejeune…the largest concentration of United States Marines in the world). Which leaves us very little in the way of interaction. We have met a few people at the pool, including a very excited little fourteen-month-old little guy who was all about my boys at the pool. But thus far, we haven’t become overly chummy with anyone. We are an anomolly in our new community. We are not only not military, we have more than one kid. And our kids are all over five years of age. There are lots of couples with babies or who are just starting out here, but almost no what I’ve heard described as “established families” like us around.
And that’s not a bad thing. We are showing all these younger families that life with more than just one child is not only possible but beautiful. We are showing many of them that there are many blessings in parenting a special needs child. We may get the weird looks from a few, but we ignore them. Because we’ve learned that community is not just built by knocking on doors and introducing ourselves, but by simply being present.
No one knows us here. And it is not lonely. It is refreshing and exciting. It is full of possibility, not anxiety. We’ve matured into the family who knows how to do what is best for us and sometimes, that means not joining in but living as the Creative Minority that we are.
Eventually, I’m sure we’ll build those lasting relationships. But in the mean time, I’m okay, and we’re okay, with simply living life as we do and allowing others to see that.