Why did I decide to live in community?
I don’t understand fully why this question is so hard for me to answer. After rewriting this afew times, I finally decided to dig through old journals to see what I was writing about, (back when i had time/made time) to write more, thinking this might jarg some old memories of when I first started thinking about community. What I found? So many prayers to God about loneliness. So much passion and eagerness at the thought of community. I have prayer after prayer written out about this community experience I so desired. What I most desired was meaningful relationships…tons of them. I guess at the time, I couldnt imagine anything better then having a quiver full of friends!
I began to experience small doses of community after a very lonely and somewhat depression high school experience (although I was pretty good a faking it to everyone but my family). I went away after school to bible school and met this really awesome girl (whome, most of you now know, yes the one and only Elizabeth Ashton) who became one of my first real and dearest friends. She was also the only friend I made at bible school, as I was a recluse, as in.. afraid of people. She spoke a lot of truth into my life that betrayed some of the lies I believed about myself, and not only that, but she was a friend to me. This, however, is not the beginnings of community I was referring to, just a little bit of preface.
I don’t imagine you want to read about all the events in my life that lead up to me being involved in atangard, so I will try very hard to relay a concise overview because it all has everything to do with how I decided I wanted to live in community.
After coming home from bible school I went to california to hangout with Sofe for 10 days, (who was also at bible school) and encountered a community of people who blew my mind. There were a ton of people in the early to mid 20’s living in different houses, and they were family. Not family by blood, but family by nessecity. And in those 10 days they took me in as part of their family. This was my second encounter with people I really believed sincerely liked me. (yes, i definitly had some self esteem issues) This inspired me. I went home and decided to start something to get people together…make some friends. Thursday night, art night. People started show’n up at my parents house. We couldnt get enough of eachother! We started having themed dinner parties and breakfast clubs. Art nights were less and less about art, and more about hang’n out and talking till all hours. By this time, I was getting used to the idea that people sometimes liked me. This was also about the times when I started to get a taste of some of the challenges of community.
Beth wrote me something that rung so true to me, “Being a Loner is easier…investing yourself in conversation with people you meet one night and quite possibly will never meet again…its easier to be a bright shining moment then in someones life day in and day out. So where do you go when your shining moment lingers, but begins to fade…and the shining moment becomes a ghost- ready to be blown away- to vanish..”. I read that and it still rings true to me, the more people I invite into my life, the more complicated it becomes (Lets be honest, humanity can be pretty messy at times).
I decided to end art night eventually because we werent really doing art anymore, so we could just hang out without a label. I ended up moving out with a friend around that time, and after 6 months, my roomate got married, and I lured afew friends to take her place. 5 roomates in a 2 bedroom apartment. It was during this time when the idea of atangard began to form and materialize. Atangard happened just in time in my opinion. With such tight quaters our living situation wasnt sustainable.
I suppose living in community was a disicion I made at some point, but I mostly feel, after giving it much thought, that it was my only option, because I didnt want the alternative. I don’t think I could have fully understood the cost of living in community (ive briefly illuded to the fact that living in community hasnt been all bike rides and hula hooping), but I am very grateful that I am here. There is so much to learn here with my 26 roomates. So many parties to plan and freak’n awesome people i have the ultmate privilage to get to know. So much Im learning about myself (ulgh, the good the bad and the ugly), and so much to learn about God and my utter need for Him. I believe that God intended us to live more relationally then how our society has modeled. So for now, this is me give’n a crack at it… in all my humanity.