Newness: Building the First Bridges

My first full month in the borderlands has been a month of new environments, new relationships, and new communities. It’s been a thousand of the awkward first conversations that happen when you’re learning your way around a new space and building the first bridges between you and the people you find there.

I’ve shared my first laughs with new coworkers and community members, developed our first inside jokes and faced our first challenges together. And through all that, as all of us at Cristo Rey wrestle with our first scheduling snafus and our Border Servant Corps house learns to find its way around a grocery store — finding things to giggle about at every turn — we’re taking the first baby steps toward intimacy and belonging in community. Every day brings new lessons about how we fit together. We discover where we slip together like puzzle pieces and we find the edges where we rub against each other, leaving us raw.

Of course these aren’t new relationships forming in a vacuum. In my house community as much as in Cristo Rey, there is a shared mission. There are shared commitments, shared values, shared visions of what the world can be and what community can be. That seems to create a certain sense of family, a certain sense of almost begrudging belonging, a sense that there is something more at stake than our comfort and contentment in these new relationships we’re building.

It’s empowering and inspiring too to be able to step out of those small circles into the larger community of the borderlands. There I see the sprawling network of relationships holding us up like one massive, marvelous (literally) human structure. I see the individuals and their stories and I see the ideas, hopes and beliefs that tie us together, and I know I’m where I need to be.

By Michael Dickson, BSCer