By Erin Monaghan
What does playing laser tag have to do with living in community? Let me explain.
This Friday, Grace-on-the-Hill went to play a few rounds of laser tag. We began our first round, all trying to gain points while avoiding losing them. And how do you avoid losing points? By avoiding people who may hit you with their laser. So, we split up, tried to find hiding places or sneak around and collect points from others. I quickly felt disinterested, wondering why I was wandering around by myself when I kept losing points anyways. I crossed paths with Lauren a few times, who was frustrated at the amount of times little kids were hitting her with their lasers. We decided to join forces, and see who else we could find. It didn’t take long to find the rest of the GOTHs, and forming our GOTH house alliance made every penny spent worth it. We found a location big enough for us all, made a plan of attack, covered each others’ backs, and had a blast. When we started our second round, we already knew our plan. We went to the highest point of the arena, all took different positions and began. We made a few friends that game, and while I am sure these two kids did not play a role in increasing our scores, they helped increase our fun with their enthusiasm.
So from these games of laser tag, I realized a few things about community. One, when we’re looking out for ourselves we do so at the cost of others. By staying on our own, I was hit more often by others. By being individualistic in our home life, I felt less comfortable at home. When we came together in the game, I enjoyed myself and laughed more. When we decided to spend more time together as a house, I noticed myself and others laughing more often. In the second game, we invited more people into our fun. Isn’t that the point of community? To make an impact on the communities we are in? This is one of our goals as members of Grace-on-the-Hill, and one that we are constantly working towards. This is easy in our work communities, we’ve been spending 32 hours a week at our job placements each week since August. Same with church, we spend time each week at service and in other church groups. It would seem like our neighborhood community should be just as easy to connect with, but we have to be much more intentional about making those connections. Recently we have been making conscious efforts to connect with our student-neighbors, through things like finals goody bags, but we still have room to grow. Perhaps one day we will make a laser tag alliance with them, or maybe we’ll find something more commonplace to connect over. Until then, I’ll keep taking steps towards my communities, both inside of our house and out.