As a Christian, I believe that we are called to community.
So during the long process of discerning if and where I should spend this year serving, a program that had an aspect of intentional community was at the top of my requirements list–especially once I got engaged, since I am not likely to have the opportunity to live in an intentional community like this one again.
Paradoxically, beyond knowing that I wanted some community aspect, I didn’t give much thought into what that would look like. I imagined that fulfillment would come through my work, through spirituality, through exploring a new place, while community was a nebulous component. I knew I valued it, but I didn’t know how to envision it.
I’m sort of thankful for that, because this community—the Sycamore House—has exceeded my wildest expectations.
I have never before been in the company of so many loving, gracious, weird and accepting women. That’s not to say that they don’t annoy me sometimes—as I’m sure I do them—but as one of my housemates said so eloquently, where there could be competition there is compassion; where there could be apathy there is interest; and where there could be offense there is grace.
It is not easy to live in a house, even a rambling manse, with seven other people, much less to commute together, to cook two dinners and a breakfast together, to feed a crowd of (as the church admin likes to say) “four to forty” people each Sunday out of our less-than-food-stamps budget, to keep that big old house reasonably clean, to discuss Bonhoeffer together, to get to church on time each week, to deal with bad days and malfunctioning showers and six other people with their own disparate experiences, likes and dislikes. It doesn’t come naturally. It isn’t always smooth. In fact, when I type it out it sounds terrible.
But somehow, for almost two months now, it’s been working. It’s been joyous. And I am so, so thankful.