Diva Cups and Plastic Ball Pits

            Two suggestions for living in community: never sweat the small things, and always rejoice in the smallest gestures.  Living in community can feel like living in one of those old McDonald’s kiddy ball pits.  You’re bound to get smacked by a few errant balls; there are sticky smelly things everywhere- diapers, a forgotten pacifier… Amber’s diva cup… all submerged in a sea of color.  Yet, in spite of the occasional sting and stench, there is a joy that cannot be contested. 
            Most people go on missions trips as a personal response to the explicit “mission”- to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).  While God does intend for us to accomplish said objectives, we rarely attribute their fruition within the routine practices of bathing, eating, and sleeping- yet these are the occupations which are defined by the community dynamic.  There is no longer a schedule to my work because in community, my personal ministry is continuous.
            Jesus told us that the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.  We have a choice.  In America, I would go to work and endeavor to serve the toddlers in my class, I would go to my evening courses and attempt to serve my professors, and then I would go home and serve myself.  In community, serving becomes a dwelling place of the heart and mind.  It remains a choice, but the opportunities to serve are infinite, and the alternative- to put your self first- typically comes at a visible cost to the people around you.  Back home, serving my self still comes at a cost, but I live at a safe distance from people, so I don’t have to confront the person paying the price for my selfishness.
            "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Velveteen Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt…It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."-Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit
Through the world's lens, the skin horse was a tattered worn out toy, but his unseen testimony exposed a greater truth.  True love comes at an expensive cost, but it also presages a precious reward- becoming real.  Williams gives us a choice to live on the surface, or to pay the price for discovering freedom.  Living in community is a series of choices- laying down our vain desires, in order to serve, to love, and to become more real (more like Jesus).
This week, as Mrriah scrubbed our icky basement bathrooms, as Sara pushed through her stomach pains to help build a house of dirt, as Amber washed all the dinner dishes, as Alexa rubbed my back during team time, as Kristina entertained the kids at the land who were trying our patience, as Sharon shared her bug spray, and as Sabrina woke up early to lead worship for the Missions School students, I was humbled by the turning of our hearts.  A thousand small choices make a world of difference- they make us real and into the image of God’s son.  I’d say that’s worth a few smelly diva cups and some poorly aimed plastic balls.

More Articles in This Topic


Choosing to Lose


Declarations of a Copy Cat