Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fellow Ship

It's a funny word, isn't it, fellowship?  It can mean different things to different people.  To some it's just an excuse to get together, talk about the weather and the color scheme of the living room, and oh yes, to eat.  We can't forget that.  ;) 

To others, it means congregating on a regular basis to do a set number of rituals and then go home.  I'd look at that as two ships (fellow ships?) passing in the night, no real connection except they're there ... temporarily.  

There are any number of definitions depending on whether a person is outgoing or not, involved in community events or not, athletic or not, and so forth.  

I consider fellowship to go a little - okay, a lot - deeper than that.  It's people of like mind, perhaps with a common belief - or a common problem - preferably (for my own comfort zone) in small groups of no larger than four people - coming together to talk about things that really matter: relationship with God, relationships with ourselves and each other. There's a connection there, it's a safe place to be: no judgment, only acceptance.  Everyone is allowed to feel what he/she feels. The gathering could be in each others' homes, at a coffee shop, at another public, agreed-upon place, and it could be regularly scheduled or impromptu.  There is nothing superficial about it.  

Nobody is excluded on the basis of gender, belief, or other differences (whether visible or not.) And it doesn't have to be in person either.  It can be virtual - whether in social media, over the phone, or via Skype or chat room.

There was a time when I didn't think that such a thing (fellowship as I define it, that is) existed.  I know different now - it just took me a while to find it.  And finding it meant something risky.  I had to become vulnerable - open - willing to be honest about myself, to ask for help.  Time and again I have found in the last three years that when I trust people who are trustworthy, I am surrounded by the love and fellowship for which I so longed when I thought it didn't exist.

Rather than ships passing in the night, I've discovered people who are in the same boat as I am.  The Fellow Ship.

I am so very thankful for my fellow crew-members.  They are there for me, and I am there for them.  After all, we're all in this together.

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