A Blog Revival: Community

by Kristi Van Dyk

I'll start my return to blogging off with a bang

True Confession: I despise asking for help. 

There. I said it. 

It's not that I have a problem admitting failure; I actually make so many mistakes on a daily basis that it'd be silly to try and hide it. I think my real issue is that I take pride in being able to "pick myself up by my boot straps" and carry on, despite all obstacles. 

Truthfully, though, just because I may be able to carry on alone doesn't mean I should. 

I think that phrase bears repeating. Just because I may be able to carry on alone, doesn't mean I should

Throughout the course of my 5 years, 11 months, and 2 days of motherhood, I have had many trusted friends who gave me old adages that I never truly took to heart.
"Life was meant to be lived in community."
"It takes a village to raise a child." 
"We were created to live in community."

... on and on it went. 

These were always delivered with an offer to take our kids, let them cook us a meal, or give us a chance to "get away" for a night ... I stubbornly refused most often. 

I was determined to find a way to do it myself - transport each child to each event. Take every kid along to each trip. When it came to an unavoidable situation, I'd feel supremely guilty as I passed my children off to another mother, grandma/nana, or friend in order to make an appointment by myself or with just one of the other kids. 

What these past 18 months in Zeeland have taught me is that there is incredible joy in helping others. AND there is incredible freedom in allowing others to help you. Each exchange of assistance gives the participating parties (both the giver and receiver) an opportunity to see and sense the vulnerability and humanness of another mother/friend. It gives each of us a chance to demonstrate that we are not perfect. The requesting mother, by virtue of needing help, is forced to admit a sense of vulnerability. The responding mother, depending on the status of her life and littles may be opening up her world as well. The surprise visit may not give her enough time to spotlessly clean the floor (or even to change out of sweats). It may not give her a chance to prepare a gourmet meal for extra children - and hot dogs or mac n cheese it will be ... In either case, real life - real vulnerability is happening when children and lives intersect in this way. 

I'm convinced that the more moments like these (lets call them moments of vulnerability) that pass between two pairs of mothers, the more likely those moms are to see life through each other's eyes. We glimpse just how hard it is to be a working mom, how hard it is to be a stay-at-home mom, how hard it is to balance fitness, health, spiritual depth, money, social politics, personal fashion, and home cleanliness (my personal nemesis) all in the context of a life that just never stops throwing the curve. And its these moments that turn into days, that turn into weeks and months and years ... and before you know it, you've lived life together ... helping each other - in the most real, authentic way possible. By simply being there ... 

As I'm learning, in this wonderful new community, how to ask for help - how to open up - and how to participate more honestly in these moments of vulnerability, I'm seeing and sensing what those wise and trusted friends told me oh so long ago ...

I AM created to live in community

~ Thanks to all of those who have reached out to us in the last 18 months, who have watched our kids, made us meals, transported little ones, been there in last minute times of "oh shoot, I forgot _______," and for the few of you who saw the conflicts/problems coming long before I realized it would be an issue and solved the conflict for me. Thank you for teaching me how truly freeing it is let others in ... really in ...