[excerpt from Blue Like Jazz, by Don Miller]
I've just recently considered the concept of living in community. You can live in a community and never live in community. I've realized this idea is probably something that would be best learned while growing up and, perhaps, there are people who have lived in community all their lives and don't know anything else. But this is very new to me.
In my mind, living in community is needing and doing thing for others. What I learned, by example, was that if I needed someone's help I was weak. If I needed someone's help I was a failure. So to be a strong successful person I had to be independent. I didn't need anyone. To some extent this was good. But it isolated me from people. I didn't feel strong and successful, so I would keep to myself. I didn't want people to think I wasn't capable of taking care of myself, so I'd never ask for help. This eventually led people to think of me as a snob. I just got the impression people didn't like me, because I wasn't whatever they were (pretty, smart, thin, married, etc.) so I isolated myself even more.
I'd say within the past 15 years I've been able to overcome most of those insecurities. But even so, really living in community is a concept that is difficult for my mind to grasp and my person to experience. I think I am still too wrapped up with myself to be free enough to really be there for others the way I think I should be. The way I think defines "living in community."