Working Harder Together
“It's easier to bleed than sweat."
I read a great article this week about the lottery and how this record breaking amount brings out all sorts of things in people...One thing the article mentioned was how you wouldn’t want to be that guy in your office that opted out of the group pool only to seem them win (major FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out). So it encouraged you to jump in! Get excited! Throw money in the pot and get together and hope for the impossible!
I get this deeply. The joy of doing something with a group of people can sometimes eclipse the thing itself. We fear missing out on that one incredible story that gets told every time people get together. If you’re like me, part of the fun is just drumming up excitement and getting everyone on the same page (especially when it’s not something that’s super exciting…) There is joy in sharing these moments with others - and a certain joy in having someone else delight in something in which you also find delight. I remember feeling like I won the lottery early in marriage when my wife would get excited (maybe not equally) about some of the things I love in life.
But what about the things we don’t get excited about in community? Conflict. Hardship. Awkward distance. Hurt feelings. And with good reason right? Who wants to get together and get into some conflict?? I fear we move too far in the opposite direction though - we loathe these things so much that we start to pretend they don’t exist. It sounds simple, but I can’t tell you how many things in my life I still pretend if I don’t think about them, maybe they won’t keep being issues…
So we’re left with this mess of things that are givens, even necessary, in community (not all conflict is bad despite what I feel every time there is conflict…) How can we shift that sense of enjoyment when we do things together to also face these harder things? It’s absolutely exciting to think about what a group of friends would do with millions of dollars...it’s less exciting to think about what you will do when someone decides they want to engage in harmful behavior and are not looking for advice from the group... It’s absolutely exciting to think about going out to see the new movie together and making a night of it...it’s less exciting to express how someone’s words hurt you deeply...
I’m not suggesting we should start to drumming up excitement for these hard things in community - but I am suggesting that we begin to approach them differently, honestly, openly - together. We share in the joys together, we carry the weight together. It only works if we’re doing it together.
How can we better face the hardships of living intentionally with one another together?