Lately I have been struggling to understand why we are here living in a new house on Whidbey Island. We moved in such a rush and in a whirlwind of hurryup hurryup! I’m not even certain how the final blows upon our old life were executed but here we are now, safely, soundly installed in our new life and making a go in our new community.
For us, the community literally begins at home, with the very house we purchased. It is part of something previously unknown to me (or us), called a co-housing, where people do pretty much just that: co-house. This is entirely different from ‘co-habit’, so let’s get that settled straightaway. Co-housing, as far as I can describe it thus far, is a concept as well as an instituion and in our case, that of Maxwelton Creek Co-housing, what that means is we share a lot of stuff and we can’t escape one another, even if we try.
Every Monday is potluck. At around 6:30 on Monday evenings members of the community gather in our common house for a shared meal. While this sounds like some kind of freakish Walden Two model, rest assured it’s more along the lines of Whole Foods or PCC with some VW bus thrown in for good measure. John and I are not so keen on potlucks–or perhaps it is me, I who am not so keen on them, but nevermind–so every Monday, around 4:00, the world stops still for just long enough for a small kitchen panic to occur and then resolve itself, reappearing in the form of pizza crust or applesauce or pie. I am never the clever one with the four-layer vegetarian fritatta or the lentil-couscous salad slaw. But again, nevermind. They cannot kick us out because we are Members, homeowners with a mortgage and a cat who does not kill the songbirds. We have not only chosen this crazy co-housing place but, somehow, it has also chosen us.
Which brings me to my struggles. Why we are here. Why ARE we here? I’ve a little inkling but it is so small I am afraid to do more than whsiper it in case it hears me and runs away frightened. Still. A hush. Silently. Shush… I believe we are here to be ministers.
What means that… ministers? I will tell you. We are here to follow God. We are here to learn faith and to encounter doubt, to embrace those who have not been able to hold back the love or the doubt themselves but are wanting affirmation, guidance. We, too, are those people, and it is with God’s help that we will encounter our own mentors, guides, encouragements.
I sit here tonight and recall the past several weeks’ worth of Thursday Coffees in which Lea and Margaret have wandered over to us and shared their time and their stories and then have shared in addition their homes and spaces with us, pouring wine and playing music. This is ministry. Ministers are not always ever wearing black and thumbing passages. We are ministers in our love, and in our struggles as well as our confidence and faith.
I will continue to write. But for now, let it be private. The Peace of the Lord be with You.