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Finding stability in faith community

Finding stability in faith community

Beth Wheatley Dyson reflects on stability as people who are always “in-between”.

At our church’s weekly unemployment support group I hear many stories. Folks who have been recently unemployed seek a way to make sense of suddenly being one of the masses who will need to rebuild their resumes and work on interview and networking skills. Others who have been unemployed for up to two years are challenged with finding the strength to continue the search for gainful employment. They are living a life in transition. Nowadays most of us are.

There was a time when folks settled in a geographical area and stayed for generations, enjoying the stability and support of family and lifelong friends. Now, life is more transitory. I think the role of church life has never been more needed.

Faith communities provide a sacred space to share the joy and grief of life. Seeking time to connect with God and a faith community can help build a sense of stability even in the midst of an ever-changing landscape.

Several years ago when I was studying to be a minister I was assigned to intern at a city church. One holiday weekend our children went away on a trip and my husband Dave and I had a rare opportunity to be by ourselves. We had it all planned: sleeping in late, dinner with friends, even a movie.

Of course, that was when we discovered Dave’s misdiagnosed detached retina and how I found myself alone, husband in hospital, children away, elderly parents and other relatives living some distance, friends busy with their lives.

I stumbled to bed early Sunday morning exhausted from my vigil through Dave’s emergency eye surgery, from hours of trying not to think about whether Dave would ever see again. By the time my alarm clock beeped there were several inches of snow on the ground.

I could do it — I could call my priest supervisor, roll over, go back to sleep — or I could shovel myself out and head to my assignment.

For me, it was an easy decision. While thoughts of getting some more shut-eye seemed appealing, I knew at a very deep place in my soul that I needed to join my faith community, a community of people from all different walks of life and experiences who joined together to give hope to one another along life’s path.

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