Two years ago, I moved away from an incredibly close community of guys. I first met these guys during my first year of Bible college. We all lived in the same dorm, and we grew incredibly close. I disclosed my attraction to the same sex to all of them just a month or two into the semester.
They were all so incredibly loving and supportive, it was an SSA guy’s dream, being close friends with ten straight guys. I ended up living with many of these guys for five years, some of the greatest years of my life.
We had our ups and downs, but our community shared a deep intimacy.
One by one, they all got married, and I moved away because of school internships. As a result, I fell into a deep depression. I entered a new environment and tried making new friends and building a deep, intimate community, but I was so afraid that it would not compare to the same community I once experienced.
Even though I kept long distance relationships with my friends from home, I longed for them daily. I desired their hugs. I missed the deep conversations around a cigar and whiskey. I wanted to watch Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Top Gear with them. Going to the gym and lifting weights was not the same without them. I smoked less cigarettes around them, back when quitting cigs seemed like more of a possibility.
My life was better and more emotionally stable with these brothers regularly in my life.
Once I moved away from my brothers, my life grew characterized by smoking cigarettes, watching porn, and a creeping apathy in daily life. One day, I wrote a not so technically brilliant poem to describe this period of life:
My daily routine.
Smoke a cigarette.
Drink my coffee.
Try to pray.
Try to read my Bible.
Go to work.
Stare at the screen.
Get life sucked out of me.
Lack of productivity.
Smoke a cigarette.
Go to an empty bed.
My days lacked purpose or joy. When I came home to my place at the end of the day, the silence screamed at me. I just so badly wanted to walk into a place where someone was making a meal and somebody else was reading a book or watching TV.
I tried quitting cigarettes many times, but without the support of my friends I found it to be nearly impossible.
This seems bleak, but things have slowly started to change.
I am now a part of a loving church community. Even though it is difficult starting a new community from scratch, the local church is stepping in.
Historically, the church had a positive view of single people and provided community for those people. But the church has lost that. My church is regaining that high view of singleness. Families invite me over to their homes for dinner or an evening tea. The older ladies make me frozen dinners so that I can have homemade meals like my mom used to make.
I also recently found an accountability group of guys in my church. It has gotten to the point where I feel comfortable inviting myself over to people’s homes.
My new community will not look the same as it did in the past, but I am finally escaping that loneliness through the body of Christ.
Everyone welcome our newest blogging brother, Will! For the comments below: Did you ever experience deep community only to leave that community or have that community removed from your life? How did you rebound, or are you still struggling to recapture that intimate community of old?
* Photo courtesy chefranden, Creative Commons.