Thursday, July 10, 2014
The second year of marraige.
For many the life we live is not for them. When the fact that our family of five lives with nine other adults comes up in conversation most shake their heads and state how they could never do that, they need personal space. And while I am of the mindset that personal space is overrated, I do understand what they are saying. There are moments that I crave alone time. When all I want is to sit with a hot cup of coffee in hand, no children pulling at me, no housemates talking. Just silence. But that is not the life that I have chosen. I have chosen closeness, it what I crave and what I need. I find that when I want to abandon ship it is usually due to my flesh rising up and something that I need to fix. I remember our second year of marriage when the process truly began, the refining for community living. For some reason Andrew and I decided that it would be a good idea to live with 3 single men. Almost immediately the refining began. Honestly I don't know what we were thinking, a young married couple still figuring things out, a wife wanting to make a home and create a beautiful space, and three single college guys. The reality of this choice was apparent as I ferociously fought against the ping-pong table as our dining room table. The thought of that as an option had honestly never crossed my mind!!!!! There were other challenges as well, cleaning in general was not high on the priority list, and the dishes were out of control. I remember cleaning the house one day and leaving for work, by the time I got home 4 hours later it was a disaster. But these were small things, and soon I reconciled myself to the fact that the house would never truly be clean (preparation for children). And while it was challenging there was much goodness. Late night card games, ping-pong tournaments, and forming bonds that still exist to this day. The guys are all married with children now, and I am pretty sure that none of them have a ping-pong table in the dining room. We try to see each other once a year and genuinely enjoy each other. From what I was told the year after Andrew and I moved out was a rough one at the house, and things didn't go very well. And while I know that we were not the glue holding it together, I do believe that the diversity of having singles and a married couple together was a good thing. It is easy to gravitate to people who are in the exact same place in life as we are. Birds of a feather and all that. But this creates a large imbalance. We are better together, even though it is harder. Andrew and I have lived in community for 8 years total now, and I truly believe it has molded us for the better and kept from a myopic world view. The guys were part of this growing process for me and the beginning of learning to let go of the small things, and cling to that which matters. I still enjoy a clean house and try to keep it beautiful. But these things are meaningless if while I try to create physical beauty I am ignoring the needs of others. Relationships need tending to, if you ignore a garden for too long the weeds will overwhelm you, but if you tend to it a little bit each day soon profound beauty blossoms. We are better together, we need each other, and while community living may not be for you, everyone needs closeness of some kind. Tend to your relationships, give them your best, forgive what does not matter, and let go of the desire to control. It will be good.