Jul 29, 2012

Clothesline community.

This summer, the Journey brought me back to Tennessee for a bit. I knew coming into this season that it would be good--great, in fact--to watch lightning bugs, work on Main Street and take spontaneous father-daughter drives down country roads with Chik-Fil-A milkshakes in hand. But beyond those gems-of-moments...my heart has been thrilled to return here for something sweeter and dearer...to return to a very specific tribe of people...to return to my clothesline community.

The whole concept of a clothesline community crept up on me about a year ago over a cup of steaming coffee and slice of pumpkin bread. A friend and I sat across from each other and spent hours dreaming out loud and talking about the Church. As conversation bounced back and forth, the image of an old-fashioned clothesline flashed in my mind--I need clothesline people, I said. Everyone needs clothesline people.(Now, being one who has developed a strong distaste of laundry, this analogy took a minute to warm up to.)

You see, when I do my laundry--everything gets thrown in at some point. The sassy summer maxi dress next to my brother’s hand-me-down JROTC t-shirt. Workout clothes and skinny jeans. Cardigans and under-g’s--the whole shebang.

And naturally, what goes in must come out...and be brought to the clothesline. Hanging. In the wind. For other people to see. [Enter: clothesline community.]

Now, I do not have a clothesline. But if I did, I imagine it would not be placed in my front yard. Because (let’s be honest) not just everyone needs to see that pair of over-loved comfy pants I rescued from the Goodwill four years ago. There are actually a few people who do need to see those comfy pants, however, and they are the very core of my clothesline community.

Because if comfy pants are old habits that may need some reworking, I very likely need to hear that from someone else. And if I’m missing a smashing combination of blouse and pencil skirt because my eyes have grown too familiar with other pairings, I absolutely need a gentle-but-direct friend to speak that out. Nobody wants to be under-using their wardrobe potential, after all. (Especially if that new outfit corresponds to an unrecognized set of complimentary skills or heart-passions waiting to be aired-out.)

I think that God knew what He was doing when he created people for community, and when He wired our hearts to accept and long for different levels of community. Today, I’m particularly thankful for those brave and kind-hearted souls who I’ve brought out to see my clothesline--for their wisdom, accountability and well-timed humor in coaxing me out of a well-lived fashion statement (read: stunted concept of personal potential).

So here’s to you, my beloved C.C.--to more laughs, heart to hearts and seasonal cleaning-outs. You're treasured.