Do you have an instantpot? The past few years this cooking device has risen in popularity. It’s a multi-function cooker with a pressure cooker option, designed to cook foods in a short amount of time. Many of my friends love how they can cook a meal that once took hours in a short amount of time.
So far, I have not jumped on the bandwagon and continue to use my slow cooker. I like throwing ingredients in my slow cooker after breakfast and knowing dinner is ready at the end of the day. All day, the smell of a roast or stew fills the house. And just when our schedule gets crazy around dinner time, the meal is ready for us to eat.
I was thinking about these two different methods of cooking foods the other day when one of my kids lamented that we don’t have people over our house as often as we did where we lived in Florida. He recalled us hosting parties, meals, impromptu play dates, and church events. He remembered the house filled with kids and adults and the seemingly always open front door. He wanted to know why we don’t have the same kind of community where we live now as we did where we used to live.
What my son doesn’t know is that the type of community he remembers wasn’t an instantpot community. It was more of a slowcooker community. The kind that steeps slowly over time until one day you look around and realize you have a group of people you always turn to when you need them most. It took years of starts and stops, of invitations and rejections, of slowly connecting with people one meal at a time. It took stepping out of comfort zones and inviting people into our messy lives. It took intentional vulnerability and honesty, sharing with others what was going on in our lives. It took walking with others during painful times—grieving losses, hearing hard stories, and meeting their needs. It took spontaneity and being willing to drop whatever we were doing to be there for someone else.
What my son saw as a normal part of our family life took years to foster. It took more than just greeting one another in the church narthex each Sunday morning. Our closest relationships were formed through suffering and trials. It took living life together, of truly being a part of one another’s life.
I quickly realized after moving three years ago that while my new house may feel like home and while I may know how to get around the town in which I live, it will take many years before I develop the history with others that I had known before. While I’ve made many connections and know a lot of people where I now live, I still feel unknown. And I will likely feel like an outsider for quite some time.
While there are some places where community does develop quickly, like an instantpot, most community grows and develops slowly, more like a slow cooker. Such relationships need time to marinate. They need time to be tested and tried. They need time to prove their strength and endurance.
After my son asked his question, I decided to do something about it. He and I teamed up and invited a number of families over for a meal. And as it turned out, he made a great co-host!