The Gift of Community

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
Placeholder4 tractor Bill Vriesema

Kris Camealy reflects on her time at the High Calling, the truth about moving through change, and the gift of community—wherever we are.

In 2011, when I first stumbled upon The High Calling community I immediately loved what I saw. My private blog had just suffered an irreparable meltdown, and so I had taken that as the final nudge in a series of gentle but persistent encouragement from God, to move my writing from private to public. New to public blogging myself I spent most of my early time at The High Calling quietly watching. In June of 2011, I introduced myself there, participating in my first link up. The theme?—Community.

The High Calling became a space I visited regularly, and many of the active contributors there shifted from being my "online" friends, into real life friends, whom I'd meet and enjoy the company of at blogging events whenever possible. When my friend and Managing Editor at The High Calling, Deidra invited me to serve the community as the photo editor an unspoken dream was fulfilled. To be able to couple my love of photo editing, with working alongside so many people I respect and admire and love has felt not at all like work, and truly, like the purest most unexpected gift. I confess, I grieve the changes.

Growing up as a "military brat" forced me to learn to make transition often. Our family relocated every two years like clockwork. I became quite an experienced packer, able to sort my belongings into piles determined for keep, short-term storage, long-term storage, donate, or sell. The physical moves became easier, but the goodbyes never did. The ache of moving on always hung around longer than I wanted it to. Saying goodbye to what is comfortable, what feels safe and good is never easy, and as practiced as I am at it, the transition within this community comes as a mix of deep gratitude hemmed with sorrow for what was.

Unlike the days of my childhood however, the Internet offers us a more immediate connection even in our absence. The High Calling was first for me, a digital community, an online gathering of like-minded and yet tremendously diverse souls who managed to mingle and encourage each other, to stretch and grow and serve despite our often physical distances. The opportunity to meet physically at the beautiful Laity Lodge felt like a family reunion. That is an irreplaceable gift.

As I reflect on this space, the word that lingers is community. Because that is what The High Calling has been for so many, and it is what we can take with us, as we go. Changes in foundational direction and the inevitable shifting that comes as leadership explores new avenues, does not erase what time and conversation, and tears and prayer has built. Those who have been touched by the work at The High Calling (and there have been many) can hold onto the goodness that lasts in the relationships built, even if the meeting space looks a little different. The beauty of the modern age of communication is that we carry each other with us not only in our hearts, but also in our pockets.

Trying to embrace change sometimes feels a bit like struggling to wrap our arms around a porcupine—just plain uncomfortable. But as we go, my prayer is that the community that has formed here in these hallowed spaces holds on to each other. The High Calling served us well as a virtual meeting space, and encouragement will still be found here in the continuing Daily Reflections and meditations. Community can continue. I pray we hold onto the gift of each other, wherever we may be, and that the conversations we have enjoyed do not end. The H. E. Butt Family Foundation has honored us well, by valuing the work we do, and holding to standards of faithfulness, excellence, integrity, and generous hospitality. May we all carry the gift of this experience with us as we move forward, and may the memories we have made remind us to continue to be in community with each other, wherever we might find the opportunity to connect.