“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing:
Dwelling in community holds the blessing of life.
I knew it was true. I knew it was sweet to dwell in unity [to be joined as a whole; a complete and pleasing whole]. But never had I so experienced the manifestation of community resulting in such life.
I think this is a promise: where brothers [and sisters!] dwell in oneness together, there we experience life. Life forevermore.
Community. Common Unity. Oneness. Togetherness.
It is good. It breeds life. And I thought I had known it. But no.
I had never so felt it, friends. Not until last week.
After five and half years of trying my hardest to fully live + deeply love in West Palm Beach, Jesus opened new doors and filled my heart with incredible confirmation that it was time to go. On my last night, nothing seemed more appropriate than games, coffee + laughter with the people who made West Palm as enchanting as it was. I had no idea how life giving that time would be.
I sat in a circle of some of my favorites as tears slowly broke free + slipped from my eyes, despite my will to stop them. I surrendered to the gravity + listened to my people reminisce on memories of skipping class + playing in the fountains downtown, exploring new streets on a Mediterranean Island, learning the sound + stirring of the Spirit, and giggling for hours over warm cups of coffee.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
They told me they were thankful for me, and that I made a difference in their lives. They told me they believed in me.
They made me feel like I could really, truly, actually change the world.
They told me that when they thought of me, the thought of Jesus closely followed. I’m crying again- I have never been more humbled. I have never felt so beautifully insignificant in the story of our souls, yet realizing that the way we live matters. It matters to people. With every word, they spoke love + life like I’ve never heard. It easily ranks as one of the Top Ten nights of all my 23 years.
During those last days, I received so much love like this. From my church, friends, professors + mentors. They called out my gifts and challenged my fears.
My professors spoke life: “God has anointed you to teach and lead – I am sure of it. You have a wonderful gift of seeing great things in the biblical text AND communicating them to others.” …and in the same paragraph called out weaknesses: “One of your greatest hindrances will be your inability to fully trust God to do truly great things through you.”
They spoke candidly + honestly and it made me wonder what stops us from doing this all the dang time. Why does it take a cross-country move for us to speak life? For us to call out gifts and affirm dreams, to acknowledge fears + challenge struggles?
I always knew they believed in me, but these conversations took it to a whole new level. I know I lack trust in God, but to hear someone I admire and respect call it out – well, shoot. It just changes things. It makes me want to be better. It makes me want to fight it more + more.
I left West Palm with a heart fuller than I’ve ever known. Tear stained journal pages reflect on moments + remind me that fear has no place.
I left with a greater conviction to speak life on important days + on regular days. When people are moving + when they’re not. When we don’t think they need to hear it + when we think they do.