Part of this whole internship-in-the-middle-of-nowhere deal is an experiment in LIFE, grand terms, big scheme, wide picture, all the messiness.
The question in point is: living alone -- can I do it?
My life history can't quite settle the question, as I've spent an total of five weeks living alone, count em: 3 weeks between roommates in Prague, and 2 weeks in my aunt's house in Boston while she vacationed. That Is All. On the flip side, I used to live quite literally stacked on top of my sisters in a tiny crowded shared bedroom, and I once did a 6-month tour with twenty some odd Ugandan kids - I got about twenty-four hours alone time during the whole shebang, and they'd barely leave me alone to use the bathroom.
Now it's me knocking around in this big old house, twice the size of the apartment I grew up in. Talking to myself? check... and to my potted plants? check...
Don't get me wrong. I get a lot of socializing in. I go to parties and dances and concerts and all. My bassfriend gets me invited a lot of places. Also I spend a lot of my pastor-time talking to people, visiting them in their houses, chit-chatting before we talk about the important stuff, or maybe sometimes the chit-chat is the important stuff... I get plenty of time with people.
But what I *miss* is none of that. What I miss is cooking together, cleaning together, bugging one another about their choice of music or food or temperature in the shared environment. My potted plants don't talk back about those issues. And as for inviting friends over, well, "wanna fold laundry with me?" isn't the most exciting invitation, for some odd reason.
And this is why I quite joyously accepted a request to work extra hours today, in the sun, in the flowerbeds in front of our church, digging and mulching some new flowers into place, with a constant good-natured banter between the traditional rancher and the hippie flower child and myself on gardening philosophy, color placement, the use of RoundUp, and where all these darn rocks in the flowerbed came from anyway.
I JUST LIKE BEING WITH PEOPLE. I don't care if we're charming and well-dressed or witty and sarcastic or performing in any way for one another -- nor whether we really touch those deep issues or make pastoral progress with someone -- I just want to relax, focus on something else other than that delicate construction of some kind of relationship between us, and just BE with you.
I love it, I miss it, and when I go back to the Better Life of a big contentious covenantal community house I will probably wax poetic while we're washing dishes, and you won't even necessarily listen, but that'll be okay, because I will be very grateful for the little shared things between us, and I will know how rare and precious they could be.