Several years ago, my family and I moved to Hesston, Kansas—a small town just north of Wichita. In our first weeks and months there, as we tried to learn about the town and its people, we heard over and over about the great tornado that hit that community some 25 years earlier. On March 13, 1990 an F5 tornado had gone through the center of Hesston and destroyed most of the town. The people telling me the stories were those who lived through the tornado and the subsequent years of rebuilding.
While I heard stories of the horrors of that night, I heard even more stories of how the town came together and supported one another. I heard stories of generosity and love. I heard about how divisions between people fell away. I could hear in their voices the longing for that time when they felt close and cared for by their neighbors.
Isn’t it interesting that people could look back on such a terrible season with a kind of fondness because of the sense of community, loyalty, and belonging that was felt during that season? I think that says something about who we are as humans. I think our desire to belong within a trusted community of others is even deeper than our more surface desires for comfort, health, and prosperity. Sabastian Junger—journalist, filmmaker, and author of “Tribe”—put it this way:
“[Our deep need for connection] is why—for many people—war feels better than peace and hardship can turn out to be a great blessing and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary.”
Not feeling necessary….There is not much that scares me more than that.
God designed us for connection. We don’t just need friends; we need to live life with others. We need loyalty and belonging. We were made for this. But for many of us (particularly those of us who are adults)—we feel far away from that type of connection and life with others. The Bible talks a lot about this, and there is much we can learn about how to develop these types of key relationships. Is it possible to develop deep connection with others without a tornado to force the issue?
The Bible would say “yes.”