The Rock House was home, the place undergirded with deep magnolia roots and azaleas planted by my husband’s great-grandfather. But in order to put our money toward debt and our actions where our mouths are, we prayed that if we should move, then would our Father give us a community of college girls to move into our home and provide us with a 4 bedroom place where we could live in close community with others as well.
In two weeks it fell into place, and I had three weeks to pack. Suddenly I was selling everything, thoughts of a future move to Africa dictating what went into boxes, to consignment, and to the trash.
When we unloaded the boxes and furniture, a young newly-wed couple at the apartments gave their entire day to us. He broke his toe in the process and didn’t complain one time. She watched my boys, and they disobeyed her, running out in all their clothes into the pouring rain.
Close friends came and sat in a circle of straight-back chairs and prayed that God’s work be done in our hearts and in our home. I’ve eaten the bread of neighbors. I’ve given cans from my pantry. Many apartments have shared dirty footprints on their carpets from the lot of boys and girls that swarms like honeybees from door to door, enjoying as from flowers.
Never more tired, never more with unsuspecting knocks, we have never been more encouraged, never more held up, and never held more accountable to what we say we believe.
It’s had me daydreaming First-Century Style of how critical community was to the faith when the church was newly born, and I’ve been learning that it’s just as critical today.
For me, adding the extended family of Christ to our day-to-day living has jolted my eyes and has brought about a new level of truth-telling for me. When I get out of the shower and mascara bleeds down my face and a towel stacks up on my wet head, and then someone needs something at the door, I have to answer, confessing the real me and offering what I can, in spite of the ugly. My girlfriend walks below my window, and I can see that she’s so tired she might not make it up the stairs, so I am now responsible to care for her, see what I can do to help.
Christ is living, and right now I see it most in CommUnity, in the silent moments in a balcony game of rummicub, in the way children share germs and light sabers, and in the way those older than I are modeling habitual confession, prayer, and discipline.
On my part, to take advantage of this community, I’ve had to cling hard to a slower lifestyle and release my own vision for my future, and I’ve started taking notes, calling it A Community Companion.
It’s not easy to let go of myself in order to let people in, but we’ve been given a temporary, rare gift here, and it’s caused me to ask myself: what can I learn from this that I can use later to foster community when it isn’t a simple 3 steps from my front door?
What is it you do to foster community where you are?
By Amber Haines, The Run Amuck