I was reading over the Ask a Sister section of our website and the little paragraph on community caught my attention since intentional community has been on my mind lately. I chuckled to myself as I read this comparison to family life:
Community, on the other hand, is made up of unrelated adults, usually of different generations, ethnic and economic backgrounds. There are no parents who make the decisions. Decisions are made together, as adult women who share wisdom and sensibility about what needs to be done. Working out difficult relationships is part of community life, just as it can be in a family. In imitation of the gospel, Sisters try as best they can to work out conflicts with patience, love and compassion for their sisters.
We really are unrelated. Each of us is so incredibly different that sometimes it is a wonder that we all live under the same roof and cooperate in the same governance structure. But we do and it’s our differences which let us survive and thrive. None of us would be who we are if we were alone even though it takes so much work to live in community.
The Novitiate community is committed to living together intentionally, which means we are trying to be aware of what it means to be community all the time. It sounds easy when I write it out in one neat little sentence but it requires daily reminders. In order to help us along the way we have a facilitator come in once a month for a few hours to help us set goals as a house, and to communicate better with one another. Our last meeting focused on our Myers Briggs types and how we will approach things differently based on our preferences.
People have often talked about living in community as bumping up against one another, or that we are sand paper for those around us. Its sounds harsh but it really is helpful since the people who live with me sand out my rough edges, and I them. The homily I heard at mass today reminded me of the same thing. The priest talked about marriage as being a means to an end, a launching pad to learn to love more and I think the same can be said about community. My community is my launching pad.