For those of you wondering why life in community is so special and so wonderful, I finally have an experience that, I think, perfectly explains the frustrating beauty that is Community Living.
Sunday mornings I have a lovely little routine that I look forward to from about Thursday on. I get up around 9:00 or 10:00, throw on some comfy clothes and no make-up, grab my kindle and a coffee mug, stop at the Cafe to get a Cinnamon Hazelnut Americano and then make my way to the crew galley to make my favorite breakfast of fried eggs to then go and enjoy them either at the Cafe with Dianna or in the dining room with my Kindle.
Its bliss. Its peaceful. Its life giving. Its my sacred time on this crazy busy little ship.
But this morning was none of those things and I had to put myself in time out.
Even though I don’t spend a lot of time in it, the crew galley is one of my favorite places on the ship. There is always someone in there and always good smells coming from at least one of the six stations; pancakes, homemade granola, ginger, savory dishes… there’s the whir of mixers or the sound of Comfort singing as she cooks. There’s always movement and conversation and life.
This morning was no exception, I walked in to that amazing, wonderful smell of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and Ivanna and I chatted while I started getting my station set up and she was cleaning up. Even in my groggy morning state its still nice to connect and find out who’s having a birthday and the happenings around the ship.
That’s when tragedy struck and I had my melt down. You see we have communal fridges, everything you put into the fridge you must write your name on it otherwise it will get thrown out or used. My bright red egg carton has my name in three different spots but as I picked up my carton it felt a bit lighter than expected… and when I opened it to see that instead of the six eggs that had been there from last Sunday, there was now only one lonely egg.
I threw a tantrum, “I HATE THIS, someone took my eggs AGAIN!” And then the frustration fully sets in because there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. So I just sort of pouted and yes, almost cried. Thankfully Ivanna and Kirstie were in the Galley with me, Ivanna came over and gave me a hug and a delicious cookie straight from the oven and Kirstie offered one of her eggs and a few quick moments later the situation is recovered and we all go on with our mornings, laughing a bit about it and even though I apologize for my outburst Ivanna reminds me we all have those moments when we live in community.
It was that moment I realized the tears I was fighting back weren’t about missing eggs or a “ruined” Sunday breakfast but about so much more… its about lack of personal space, lack of choice and lack of independence. All things I knew would be struggles for me when I signed up for this life and all things I’m constantly learning to work through. It just happened the Great Egg Incident of 2015 happened after a week that had seen frustrations in my job and disappointment with a dream so I was extra sensitive. It happened when I was extra tired and hadn’t spent much time with God and hadn’t protected my “Me Time” and so it resulted in almost tears and a less than lovely moment.
But as I mentioned, community isn’t just frustrating its beautiful. In my moment of weakness neither Ivanna or Kirstie judged me or laughed or anything like that. They just loved me in the moment, Ivanna’s quick to comfort hug and cookie, and Kirstie’s immediate offer of what she had both spoke volumes of love and of what life in community looks like. Its walking through the ugly moments together, no matter how big or how small, and choosing to comfort and love and redeem those moments.
That is exactly why I love living in an intentional community… because elsewhere should this have happened I would’ve pouted and let that negativity settle and fester all day. Instead, the Egg Incident will make my Endless Gifts list because of Ivanna and Kirstie’s kindness.
Living in community is about doing life together, its sharing the burdens and the joys, its encouraging and comforting, its laughing and being silly together, its praying for and believing in the best of each person, its recognizing we are weak and needy and still choosing to love.
Its opening our eyes to see the rich beauty of life together each day and letting ourselves be transformed by that beauty… no matter how frustrating it can seem.