We are to hold each other and to let each other go. One movement makes possible the other. Distance gives the space in which to reach out and hold. The intimacy of holding gives strength to the inner person–the nourishment that enables us to speed another on his way. To stand on one’s own two feet may be the real work of love.
~Elizabeth O’Connor, Cry Pain, Cry Hope
Anyone who has tried to live in community with others knows how beset with pain and difficulties such a life is! Perhaps that is why the pews in our churches are row on row, and why in less obvious ways we have put distance between ourselves and others. We have not wanted to suffer in any serious way the encountering of one another, all unaware that avoidance deprives us of community.
~Elizabeth O’Connor, The New Community
Our withholding ourselves is often beyond our knowing. You cannot surrender to God a self you do not know. This was surely also in the design of community, that we might find ourselves in the mirror of that community. It was as we shared the common life that one unredeemed area after another came to light. The joy of involvement was interwoven with the pain of it.