On life lived against the grain

“It’s not easy… but it’s good.”
Some things are easier to confess with your eyes closed, and I hold my housemate’s hand tighter as she prays. That’s life. All of it, I think.

I really did think it was going to be easy, this tenuous, fluttering thing we call “intentional community”. I thought it would not be fraught with everyone’s neuroses and my failures to throw away the box from the brownie mix. But it is. I have wanted to give up, forget “community” and settle for “housemates”.

It’s not easy to work around others’ schedules. It’s not easy to look out for others’ concerns when you want to defend your own. It’s not easy to speak more softly when you’re angry and it’s not easy to apologize. It’s not easy to believe the best of one another, talk when you’re tired, tell the truth when you want to hide, or go purposefully deeper with people whose differences seem irreconcilable.

But you do it anyway, and one day you realize you wouldn’t give up community for your own one-bedroom studio if someone gave it to you. What would a one-bedroom studio teach you about your own pride, human beauty or the love of God? Who would ask you how your day was? Who would you blame when the microwave got crusty? How are you sure you can count on anyone you haven’t already offended, disappointed, and angered a bunch of times – who would you point to as family?

I understand the desire to do the easy thing, but I don’t understand how so many people let “that’s too hard” be their excuse. So many people lead unobjectionable lives when they could be living excellent ones.

Maybe I’m too young to know better. But the more hard things I do, the less afraid I am to do more hard things, and the less patient I am with the easy answers and the patterns of this world. The path less traveled may be more brambly, but it leads through a better story to a wilder wilderness and a deeper strength. Go with others, go with God; it will be hard, but it will be good.


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  1. Praise God! Thanks for your discipleship and witness.

  2. jharader

     /  November 29, 2012

    I just wrote something similar about living in family with children–hard but good. It’s true for all kinds of families, I guess. Thanks for the reminder.


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