This past weekend a terrible thing happened - my favorite television show of the moment, Downton Abbey, betrayed me.
Betrayed me by killing off a beloved character - the second main character to be killed off in Season 3. A character at the prime of his life, a new father, and central to the story.
**End spoiler alert**
It was heart wrenching, and far too upsetting to put into words. I was actually yelling at the TV in my frustration. How could this show I've come to love, come to trust, come to invest so highly in betray me in such an awful, horrible way?
I know - it's drama. It's acting. It's all just pretend.
But we do that, don't we? We wrap ourselves up in the story. We take ownership in the story. We build trust and affection for the story and the characters playing out the story. When they betray us, we feel it deeply.
When our team loses a pivotal game.
When our favorite reality tv star gets booted off the show.
When our favorite character leaves or dies.
We have an emotional reaction because we care. We're invested in the story they tell. We're invested because it's a good story.
I think about that when I think about my own story.
Is my story - the story I'm living in my day to day - is it one others want to get invested in?
Is it one where the people around me celebrate with my successes and cry with my setbacks?
Is it one where others are rooting me on and yelling at the referee for the missed call?
Is my story a story others want to invest in and be a part of?
My church home group met for the second time last night.
A group of total strangers, opening up their homes and their pantries and their lives to one another in the hope of finding a bit of community.
The second time together, and already I love them. I love the getting to know you questions. I love the oh-crap-I-totally-just-forgot-your-name moments. I love the moments of awkward silence. I love the laughter and smiles when we find some common ground. I love community becoming community.
And I've been thinking about how my story fits into this community story. I wonder if these will be the people who will laugh at my silly jokes and will listen intently when I share the more poignant stories of my life. Will these people be the ones who commiserate with me on my hardest days and rejoice with me on my best days? Will these people be the people to laugh with me, cry with me, raise me up and carry me through this season of life? Will they be at the airport when Hannah* comes home? Will they be there on the best days and the hard days of Hannah and I becoming family?
Will they see my story, learn my story, know my story and invest in it?
I hope so, and I hope to see their stories and get the opportunity to invest in them too.
Community is messy and hard. It will betray us, but the question is will we choose to put our trust in it - knowing, believing, community will at some point, some time betray us - will we put our trust in it and believe the rewards will far out way the risks?
Anyone know when Downton Abbey season four will show in the US? I think I may be ready to forgive the betrayal :)
*Hannah is a pseudonym. In order to protect her identity until she is fully and legally mine, I use "Hannah" in all online activity regarding my someday daughter and her adoption.
Please consider helping us raise the last bit of Hannah's adoption fees:
1. Buy a t-shirt from AdoptionBug.com.
2. Buy coffee from JustLoveCoffee.com.
3. Send a check to Oasis Haven US: (Your gift through Oasis Haven US is tax deductible.)
PO Box 28362
San Diego, CA
*Please write "adoption support" on the memo line.