My sister-in-law taught me to think long-term while living in community.
It's easy -- I think we are conditioned -- to think short-term. If something is uncomfortable or difficult, we want to bolt. We want to hide. We hope that it will just go away.
And maybe this is more of my own personality, but I tend to despair. I will never be able to make things work. I don't have enough grace. Never. Won't. Can't.
But my relationship with my sister-in-law has taught me something different. It has taught me to hope. It reminds me of the long-term plans of God.
The thing is, I've known Evie since I was about 15 years old. And we always loved each other and enjoyed each other's company, but I think both of our introversions kept us from being truly close. Like, sister-close. But for two years, as Elliott and I lived with her and my brother -- in unintentional community -- we slowly became closer bit by bit. And the funny thing is, I didn't even notice how close we were until Elliott and I moved out. I can say now that Evie is one of my closest friends.
And the most beautiful (and surprising?) thing about it is that our interactions were very unintentional. A conversation here, a prayer request there, a giggle at the twins' antics. Now that I am living in intentional community -- where conversations need to be had left and right (both easy and difficult) -- I cling to the beauty of my relationship with my sister-in-law. If we could get so close living side-by-side unintentionally, how close will I become to those with whom I live very intentionally?
So I pray -- along with grace upon grace -- for the wisdom to remember there are long-term blessings to be had, and that the Lord will remind me that I would never experience such blessings if we did not live in community. I never would have the closeness I have with Evie if we had followed everyone's advice about living in our own apartment.
And I'd never trade it in for anything.
So I refuse to trade in this current experience as well.