"Can I have some water?"
She got up from where we sat on the couch, walked to the cupboard, opened it with familiarity and filled her cup with water from the tap. She walked back over, sat down and the conversation continued.
When I arrive at another friend's house, I grab the hidden key, walk in and turn on the kettle because I know we will have tea when she arrives.
At another friend's house, I ask if she'll make me a coffee. I don't feel rude asking because I know she doesn't mind making. I know that because I once offered that maybe I'm a nuisance to her life and she looked at me and said "mercy". I'm guessing that meant I'm not a nuisance.
Community can be a clean home and a hostess that gets you everything.
I prefer a messier community.
I like friends who know how to get their own cup, who feel free to pick a tea and make themselves a mug. I want friendships where I know where they keep the sugar.
And maybe this relates to being a noticer and maybe not, but I think that as a noticer, I look for a community that is less perfect and more welcoming.
Jesus talked to a guy in a tree and invited himself over for dinner.
Can you imagine if more of us just invited ourselves over for dinner?
Culture tells us to make appointments and arrive on time, to leave at an appropriate time and that the meal had better taste good.
There is much talk in the Bible about hospitality and about letting people into our homes but it seems a bit less planned and a lot more intentional.
Noticers see the crumbs on their floor and invite their friends over anyway.
Noticers watch the front entry way fill with more shoes than they expected and simply add some water to the soup to spread it further.
Noticers are adaptable and flexible because they have recognized that authentic community requires joyfully living in the messiness and tension.
Because sometimes a friend arrives and I'm not ready. I awkwardly apologize for the mess and for the fact that I'm not ready to be seen and I let them in anyway. I ignore my pride for a second and just invite them in.
Tensions exist. I don't think we need to pretend they don't exist. Don't pretend that community is easy, that flexibility is easy, that change is fun.
Pretending is fun when you're five and stupid when you're twenty-five. So choose to be authentic. Embrace the tension and move forward. Show your friends where you keep your cups and then sit back and see what happens.
Community is a beautiful mess and noticers are okay with that.
Are you a noticer? I hope so!
What type of community facilitator are you? Do you find hosting easy? What gets in the way of you hosting people over? Space? Mess? Have you considered not letting those things get in the way and simply allowing true community to exist?