When we set off for New Orleans, I was starved for community. Not the kind of gentle, unobtrusive, Sunday-morning community that gives wimpy hand-shakes and makes small-talk, but the kind of gritty, heart-felt community that knows each other on a deep, dangerous level. The kind of community that is entertained by bouncy-balls and air-guns, can make fun of ourselves and each other in love, and is real enough to admit when we've screwed up or when we realize something Big. In Dangerous Community, you have to be honest, because we'll call your bluff. We also know how to encourage you right where you need it most, because we've seen those achey parts of you in a personal way and we know your strengths and weaknesses.
Dangerous Community is terrifying, I think for everybody, but I know for me. My roommates used to tease me about keeping secrets from them, but I swear it's not intentional. I just don't tell people things. It's always been hard for me to share myself with others, but oddly enough, what I fight hardest is what I'm most hungry for.
I was scared, though, I have to admit. I loved everybody going on the New Orleans trip, but what if they found out things about me that made me unlovable? What if I take too long in the shower or say something awkward or fail at a task and they decide I'm not worth it anymore?
By 24 hours into the trip, I was starting to thaw. A week in, and I was choking back tears in front of 16 people who I had finally let in. It wasn't so much that I hadn't cared for them before, or that they hadn't tried to get close, it was more that my hunger for Dangerous Community overcame my fear of it, and I finally stopped trying to achieve love and just let it happen.
This has happened before. I remember "giving in" to my Roommates, Oxford schoolmates and wrangler buddies, some with more grace than others. Maybe someday I'll learn not to fight it, but embrace the thrill of Dangerous Community in all of its scary, satisfying glory.