It is hard to believe that I have only been gone eleven days. How can it be possible that I have experienced community life so richly in such a short amount of time. How can there be any other answer but that God has his hand in this journey. From the time I felt compelled to visit communities, to my initial email to Reba Place Fellowship where I had a warm response, to having the provision both through extra work and donations, getting support from my community, and finally just the amazing welcome I have received at the two communities I have visited so far–each step seems to be arranged by an unseen hand.
Yes, the people involved are making choices to support me and for that I am over the top grateful. Part of that is because I come with an open heart and an ability to fit into each situation in a way that is supportive. Yet even that ability has been a gift from God. How I can remember with great pain how I used to enter situations having my own agenda and needs and not noticing first how I could serve and best fit in.
I sit at my computer on the second story of a guest house where I have a tiny but totally adequate room on the first floor. I look out into the meadow and the center of a cluster of homes and common building. In an hour or so, at 7:40, I will walk a grand total of about 3 minutes to help Louise, who is the hospitality coordinator, with the bakery. Another day in community will unfold. I will ask questions, get to know people better, serve as I can, listen a lot, and share my life experience as well. Meals will be shared along with work. I’ll have plenty of free time to walk, write, and pray. Cleaning, preparing food and taking care of my needs are minimal in community which leaves me free to do those things that I enjoy.
Learning. Connecting. Growing. Reflecting. Praying. Stretching. These are words that would describe my experience. Being willing to be open to what God has for me each day and being present in each moment as much as possible has enriched my experience greatly. Before I left, I was working 8-14 hours a day and trying to squeeze in nurturing my community relationships as well as doing all the tasks that need to be done in the household. Being such a small community means that we still have a lot of work to do. (That is one of the reasons I yearn to expand our community-lighten the load. But the people have to be the right fit or else the burden is heavier)
I miss my family. I miss my brothers and sisters in Christ who I fellowship with on Sundays. For just a moment yesterday I felt like I could return home instead of going on to Simple Way and Koinonia because I feel so eager to implement some of the ideas and practices that help community grow. Yet I think that feeling tells me that I need to start some of those practices right now, and go deep into what I have been learning–including daily scripture reading–so that when I do return I will be able to be fully ready for what the next steps are.
What a blessing it has been to get away. Getting away means gaining good perspective and insights which are difficult to have when I am in the thick of things. Getting away and traveling for me has always been life changing, but I know that this journey is going to be the most life changing of all my travels put together.
The best thing is that my commitment to continue to follow this amazing Jesus has been strengthened and fortified by people who have lived amazing lives. My prayer continues to be that when people see me, they see aspects of Jesus, and I will be more and more transformed into his likeness. That sounds so spiritual and maybe even pious. Maybe I should not even talk about such a personal thing. But perhaps by voicing this, my commitment will be strengthened even further.
Your comments and feedback are always welcome.