The important thing to know right now is that living in community is JOY. I've lived in Trinity House since I first arrived at seminary God-knows-when ago, but this year is shaping up to be one of the best times we've had. It's seminary housing, a big old house that used to house professors back in the days when professors had more than half a dozen children. Now it has room for 8 students, and with 7 full-time members and a few visitors, we're full up half the nights of a week.
Usually the nicest thing I have to say about living in community is that "it teaches you how to love, when it hurts." That's big, and important. We have our disagreements and get through them, pray for each other even when we're cranky, and treat dishwashing as a form of expressing love to one another. It's work... it's a trudge. It's family life, with the ups and the downs... yes, that's true.
Somehow, though - maybe I got an attitude adjustment - maybe the new housemates just ROCK - it's quite nearly pure joy this semester. We've had house dinners with at least a few of us sitting down to eat together, 4 or 5 nights a week. We've had random cookies baked, random acts of cleanliness, and two surprise parties already (i was the recipient of a great one). This weekend we had a "thrift store disaster" potluck, doors thrown open wide to anyone who wanted to come, provided they wore the least stylish item they could find. The band that formed that night around the campfire featured 3 guitars, a ukelele, both mountain and hammered dulcimers, and bass of course.
I keep looking around for trouble... for disagreements to mediate, strife to pre-empt, dirty dishes piling up, or something... and finding nothing but spunky smiles, offers of some snack or another, ridiculous items of clothing, and brilliant ideas for outings and activities. It's hard to trust it - that life in the house is just that good, and that it could just stay that way. Sometimes it's hard to trust happiness... but that's the assignment I've laid upon myself. Just to live it, enjoy it, soak it in, and give back what I can.