Me: “in the master bedroom”
Mover (looks at me inquisitively): “The Master Bedroom?”
Me: “yes- you’ll see”
Mover (seconds later): “Holy Crap!”
Just last week my husband and I bought our first house. Needless to say it was a very exciting and nerve-racking process. We talked a lot about where we should live, the kind of neighborhood, schools, and community of people we wanted to be around.
I often tell people that I would love living in a commune- and i say it non-ironically. Now people find this very strange from a minister. Visions of mass suicide and kool-aid drinking come to mind. Obviously there would have to be certain boundaries, respecting each others privacy, marriages, and sometimes families just need some time alone.
Really I imagine a very nice senior center where people have different levels of housing. There is a community hangout, dining area, shared outside space, etc. but everyone has their own living space. But really what I’m describing is the type of housing situation I had in seminary.
No, I never want to go back to the two room apartment my husband and I had with cinder block walls, but what I would take any day of the week is that you could have your free space in your apartment OR (and this was my choice most of the time) spend your free time with your friends and neighbors.
In seminary my best friend lived upstairs from me. We walked in and out of each others apartments freely, what was mine was hers and vice versa. And there were dozens of us like this. I miss that community desperately and understand how lucky I am to have even experienced it.
My husband and I have great jobs, wonderfully crazy kids, and now a beautiful house. We moved into a community that is friendly, warm, and socially oriented, but I am still struggling. I long for the deep sense of community that I once had and that I have when I am in the presence of “my people”. Yes, I absolutely need an escape from the world and my family needs together time just us.
This issue is bigger than a house and a neighborhood and a school. For some reason this single family, detached home is reminding me just how detached we are becoming from each other. We quarantine ourselves to separate rooms or compartmentalize our friends into work and sports and family.
In Mark 13:31-35 Jesus asks a rhetorical question, “Who are my mothers and my brothers?” Jesus is always on the side of the oppressed and in many cases is asking the question how can we care for each other in our relationships? We do not need to be born of the flesh to care for someone as a mother, we not not need to be raised in the same household to for you to be my brother.
What we do need, however, is a strong understanding of connection and community.
Connection, true connection with others cannot and should not be separated or detached, it should be embraced and brought into our homes. So that is my challenge in this new house. Instead of longing for the community I once had, I must ask myself, how will I create it in this new place? So next time you’re in the neighborhood come on over, no need to call. Or if you live far away, I’m just a phone call, email, text, facebook or tweet away.
See you soon.