The Warm Glow of Community

The box-cutter's fault. The little green thing. By his leg.

Chance Coe, felled by a mighty blow

The picture above is ridiculous hilarious. Ridiculous.

But you probably can’t even make it out. It’s a blurry man, kneeling. What’s he doing? Praying? Retching up his guts?

Ah, good questions. I’ll help:

This is Chance, who I, A) lived with last year in Tyler, and B) admire for many things like his discipline, conservation of words, and openness to spiritual insight. Chance has a very nice mustache and beard, a questionable neck-beard thereafter, and he is very, very strong. And quick. Classify him with Artie from “The Adventures of Pete and Pete.” He’s a hometown version of Mr. Norris. A mighty individual, not easily riled up to anger or defeated by pain.

This picture is really funny because it’s his reaction to getting hit in the cash-and-prizes.

Heh. Does that help? Are you laughing yet? I mean, I am, looking at this picture. I’m inwardly chuckling like mad over here.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

There’s a point here.You’re seeing this thing I posted on purpose, thinking it’s of interest and amusement, but more likely than not, you’ll never find this picture as funny as I will. You do not know Chance, have not lived with Chance, have never seen your friend Stephen try with all his might and energy and mischievous power to make Chance lose his veneer of calm and come out angry and turbulent. You’ve never seen Chance take control of a group of arguing people just by putting a cupped palm in the air, like a god holding an invisible goblet, to get attention and speak a simple, well-thought-out truth. You haven’t seen Chance be strong. Or silent. Or humble.

Which is why him getting his bells rung doesn’t strike you as incongruous and funny.

I think the reason this is particularly funny to me at this moment in life (and I wasn’t even THERE for the incident), is because I got to spend quality time with Chance recently. I had some business in Tyler to take care of the day or two before New Years, and I was like, “hey, I want to reconnect with some of the guys up there. Let’s make some time.”

So I got in touch with Chance, Stephen, and our friends Micah and Chris (who took the picture). These guys all live in proximity and community with each other, and I hadn’t gotten to see them since just after the summer. Add to that the fact that Waco gets pretty empty during Winter Break (thank you the Job), and I was hungry to connect, to be with people I knew and made me feel known.

We didn’t do anything remarkable up there. We shopped for flannel shirts. We watched Mortal Kombat and Stealing Harvard and ended up wanting a couple hours of our lives back. We ate frozen pizzas, we talked about life, and we spent some time in Scripture together. The guys actually get together once a week to do their own Bible Study, independent of a church, and they critique the leader of the session at the end so that he can continue to improve as a teacher. How rad is that?

More than anything, it was nice just to be with them, because they were continuing to live life on purpose together. And it woke up a desire in me to see the same in my circumstances.

I left Tyler feeling a warm glow of community, one that was only reinforced by seeing a random photo of Chance’s crotch-shot on the internet. And it made me realize: last year at this time, I wasn’t even sure I really wanted to be involved with these guys. We were doing this hard-core leadership program, and I felt my friendship to them might’ve just been an obligation. I had no choice but to live with them, but I wanted the comfortable old friends from college to be my inner circle of brotherhood.

A year later, they’re who I deliberately choose to spend my time with. Amazing.

I want the warm glow of community to be alive and well in my life. This last semester has been a little devoid of that. I mostly connect with good friends over phone and the computer, and here’s the beauty and aberration of the internet: it lets me talk about what I care about,

read what I care about,

and check in on who I care about,

but it can’t replace my community. A social networking site can help memories flare up, but it can’t hold a candle to making new ones in person. And it certainly can’t help you find a picture of an anonymous person as funny as meaningful as I do.

So what do we do with that? Do I just rely on communicating from a distance with friends like you? Do the memories of good friends keep me warm while I try like crazy to connect to you, my reader, through a medium of pictures and radio-broadcast data? Is this how we’re supposed to be buds?

Not hardly. Things are sorted out now. I’ve got the Job, the dwelling, and the income, and ultimately the Source, so it’s time to take the next step.

Young post-adult, it’s time to make friends. Local ones. GOOD ones.

Because that’s the only way I can think to keep that warm glow alive.

1 Comment

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One response to “The Warm Glow of Community

  1. YES!

    And, in the meantime, you can vicariously have maningful conversation/community with me on Skype. HUZZAH!

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