Looking back at posts such as this one or this one, I realized the idea of community sits on my mind quite frequently. As I prepare for a move from Virginia to South Carolina this week, reflections on this past year or so in this little town of Bridgewater have pretty much planted themselves in the back of my mind.
With that, I want to share four distinct communities (in no particular order) I’ve had the privilege of living in and growing with the people in them.
For those of you fortunate (or unfortunate) to have watched “Gilmore Girls”, you’ll recognize “The Dragonfly” as Lorilei’s Inn. Somehow my roommate Sarah found a correlation between the show and our fantastic little home and thus it got the name.
Sarah interviewed me as her first Craig’s List roommate and bravely took me on as a fellow Dragonfly-dweller. Immediately she explained her vision for living in community. The kitchen is open to anyone (including food, unless marked otherwise), chores would be split evenly, and roommate dinners were a must. Above all, The Dragonfly would serve as a place of rest from work and ministry throughout the day.
I fell in love.
This place was my dream. But like all dreams, you got to wake up and smell the pansies sometime, and those pansies sometimes end up turning into compost.
From there, unrealistic expectations built up quickly. Very soon, I let bitterness creep in about things like dirty dishes being left alone. Having no dishwasher makes it pretty difficult to keep a clean sink, but my pseudo-clean freak mind expected otherwise. In short, when expectations get let down, the mental blame game commences.
I learned very quickly that living in community meant something I didn’t know: communication and potential surrender of expectations. To expect my roommate who served people all day long at work to keep a spotless house was unrealistic. The home is a place of responsibility, but also a place of rest….a place where your rump rests (shameless Pumba quote).
Releasing expectations for something better means things like 30-person Thanksgiving potlucks in a 3-person apartment happen because you don’t mind cleaning up for the next week. It means receiving new roommates from out of no where when you least expect it (and finding that you have a new wonderful friend). It means opportunities to pray over each other as roommates happens more frequently because we see each other’s needs more clearly. It means we begin to look at the things that are important to Jesus and his vision for intentional community.
How do you view your home? What expectations are holding you back from community investment?