Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What You Don't Know (but need to) About Living in Community

What you may not know about living in community is that it's hard.
I say you may not know it because I rarely write about it.
I tend to stay on the surface -- to discuss the little issues -- because it's hard to write about the hardship.

Living in community -- in such close relationships with others who are not blood relatives (but ARE spiritual relatives) -- is vulnerable.  But it's so much more vulnerable to write out the hardships on the internet.

But what you should know is that it IS hard -- just as any true, deep relationship is hard.  And that means that it is through the hardship that beauty will eventually come, but it doesn't take away from the fact that in the meantime, it is hard.

We hurt each other.
We react.
We get offended too easily.
We retreat.
We confront.
We cry.
We want to run away.
We force ourselves to stay.
And ultimately,
we learn to love.

For some reason, it is hard for me to communicate in person about things that are difficult -- even when the difficult things are good things to say.  I hope my housemates know how much I love them, and how much I know I have growing to do -- that my deep introversion has kept me from real community for so long.  I am feeling the growing pains.  And I know they are feeling them too.

And I also know that these issues are not unique to this community -- that any emotionally- and spiritually-invested community has to face these hardships -- be it a community of a small family, a church, a workplace, a group of friends, roommates, a husband and wife -- we all experience these things if we let ourselves.

And that's the key, friends:  IF WE LET OURSELVES.

I think my problem is I've never let myself experience this type of community.  And now here I am -- 27 years old and with a baby -- experiencing this type of community for the first time.  Maybe that's why it's so hard -- because I have run before and have been able to run.  Now I am not able to run because my husband and housemates love me too much to let me.

Thank you, friends.  I do love you.


  1. Well said. It's so easy to spend our whole lives running... I know I have for the most part. How much do we miss when we run and hide?