I’ve been thinking a lot lately about community. What does that mean to me? How do I find it here in Hawaii? Graduating from grad school left behind a sense of emptiness in its wake. I received an advanced degree, but I lost a community. I recognize several people are still in Hawaii and I consider them close friends (though my closest friends have left) but what brought us together is no longer there. And it’s not like I want to go back; I don’t. But I have yet to see what will fill that space. It’s been over a year since I graduated but I still feel empty at times.
In an effort to meet more people, I tried paddling. Paddling in Hawaii is fascinating. It can be fiercely competitive and your team is your tribe. At the regatta’s, each team fly’s a flag with their team name and huddles together under their pop-up tents. Matching team shirts, shorts, hats, stickers, towels…you name it. I tried the top women’s team, then ended up with a significantly less competitive, and slightly disorganized team. It was a good fit. Interestingly, it the season came to a halt due to internal politics (or paddle-tics) and I’m ready to move on.
What I’ve been sitting on for actually years now is a spiritual community. Over the past few months, I’ve been attending a service at the Unitarian church on and off. And it feels like home. It’s not so much the message or sermon, but the desire for community as a congregation. At one service during the opening words, a man mentioned something along the lines of, “We are here for the same purpose: a people hungry for community”. And that stuck with me. Where in our daily lives do people speak like this? I am not sure where this path will lead me but I’m thankful it exists. I am willing to begin the journey for now. I sometimes grieve the person of faith I used to be years ago; I’m hoping now I can at least believe in community.