A couple of weekends ago, I moved into a new apartment. I had asked my group of friends if they would help me, and thankfully, a couple of them could do it. The morning of the move, I was feeling a bit lonely. I realized that I would be living alone again after a few months of staying with friends. In that moment I started to understand my need and desire for community. Just then, I got a phone call, and it was some more friends saying that they would be over to help. I was so moved! (Literally and figuratively, I guess!)
I was struck by their coming, and my friend Sam, who was raised in rural Minnesota, was too, as he said: “Morgan, what we are doing is rural, and you should write about it.” I am always interested in Sam’s insights about his own experience moving from his hometown to the city of St. Paul, so I paid special attention to this comment! Coming together to help a friend move is something done with a rural heart. Close knit community, helping hands, looking out for our neighbors: these are terms we associate with rural life and rural hearts. I have always desired this type of community, and I usually imagine the harvest parties where the farmers help each other harvest, and then they all prepare the fruit of the harvest and sit down to dinner together.
I have understood this in a different way for a couple of months now. I accepted a new job in St. Paul, four hours from where I was living, and I needed to live with friends until I found an apartment. The fact that they welcomed me in their home moved me very much, and I was filled with gratitude in these months, as we sat down for dinner together and asked each other–really caring–”how was your day?”
At the very end of the move, my friend mentioned that her brother and sister-in-law had just moved into a house down the street. They had an extra air conditioner that they wanted to sell. She called them and was able to drive right over to their house and get it–they gave it to me!
After this gift, and the time with my friends moving, I was so struck by the presence of Christ in these gestures. He calls us to live in community–communion. When we live this experience of love in community, He is truly present. When we live in communion, we are truly free–and from this experience, I can say that I know this is true.
Even though my work requires that I live in the city, I can still have a rural heart, because I choose to live in community. I choose to acknowledge my need and accept the help of friends. I choose to love Christ in a simple and concrete way through the love of these friends. It took a day of moving to help me see and be ever more grateful.