Lunesdale Community House has made me feel very welcome. It holds me in a friendly embrace, and being so soundly built, feels safe even in all the foul weather we have had recently. The rooms are light and spacious, and I can see how perfectly suited it is for a larger group of people living together. The house is big enough for finding privacy even when more people are gathered in the social spaces. We had a good sized gathering over Christmas, and it worked well, although there would have still been space for many more people. The house helps me to pursue things intentionally; the children are not little any more and have their own interests, and if I didn’t arrange times for being together or go searching for them, I could literally lose them for days!
The idea is that community members intentionally seek to spend time in the common areas in the company of others. Things that can be done in the common areas should be done there. One shouldn’t hide in one’s room by default. We should consider living together with the attitude of being present, for example reading quietly in the same room as someone else or working on the computer in the shared office. I certainly need to learn the art of lingering and making myself available more of the time, which is a challenge when I’m used to making myself so busy.
However, if we are even a couple more people living together and sharing the jobs around the house, there won’t be so much for each one to do. When we share our resources and support each other, the load for each individual should be lighter. My struggle is to find enough time to spend with the children and Andy on top of cooking and the necessary chores on any given evening after I get back from work, and I think this is the reality for most working people. But if we work on a rota, there very quickly seems to be a few more free moments in the day. Financial resources come into this as well. We can reduce personal consumption needs when we share more things. People should be able to live on an income equivalent to a part-time salary when living expenses are shared. What would you like to do if you were in a situation where more options would be open? What would you choose if life offered a few more choices? What would it take for you to get there?
I can see this situation being possible though life in a community, and for me the answer is obvious. Through the steps that we have recently taken in our life the conviction has only become stronger. What matters to me most is becoming the person I was meant to be, living the life I was made to live. There is not a moment to lose! And I can only find that life if I seek and listen to the will of God. He holds the bigger picture and everything slowly enfolds towards the fulfilment of his plan. The will of God is not a mystery to be understood in a moment of clear thinking, but staying with the mystery is a life-long attitude to be cultivated. With a regular prayer pattern, and this is guarded by the structured prayer life of the community and support from its members, and personal growth as a result of being less concerned with myself and more with others, I am brought into a focus point where the words of love that God speaks can reach me. And surely it is words of mercy, healing and acceptance in the middle of the bitter-sweet events of life that God wants me to hear.
When I’m drawn over and over again to God’s presence, it helps to put things in the right perspective, and I can see that I am part of a bigger picture. When my heart’s desire is met in God, I can start opening up and looking out, and become aware of other people’s needs. This helps me in my personal relationships, but I also hope that as the community grows, we will find ways of making a positive impact together in the local community.