If you missed Part 1, you should go there first!
Where did we leave off? Oh yeah? With our gas accidentally getting turned off! The day after we moved in. An accident that left us with no hot water, no stove, oven or hot water for 5 days.
And oh yeah, we hosted Amate Advent Reflections during that next week. That event preparation included writing individual reflections, a rehearsal with just our house, baking lots of refreshment goodies (which we did at South House). Needless to say, the stress we were experiencing during the move quadrupled with these additional challenges.
It became pretty hard to see how God was moving in our moving.
The stress wore on us. We became a little bit less understanding with each other than we previously were. We had less time together just to enjoy one another’s company. Minor inconveniences began to accumulate instead of dissipating.
[Necessary qualification before I move on: I say every word of this including myself and with no less love or respect for any of my wonderful housemates. This is an honest reflection on that time (obviously from my perspective), not a judgement of it].
But we survived. We hosted our Advent reflections, we had fun celebrating Christmas a few days early together, and then we headed home for a week or so break before reconvening in January.
A needed break. To reflect on why we live in community. To reflect on our Amate time thus far. To see how God was moving in our moving. It may have been tough to see it in that time and I think it still is in a way, because January brought with it its own set of challenges, including a beloved community member deciding to leave for personal reasons (part of January’s craziness that leaves more reflection for a later date). But I’ll tell you this:
God was moving in our moving. And still is.
God was moving in our Advent reflections. We were a bit of a mess–short on patience, off key, nervous, not as organized as we intended, afraid of sounding stupid–yet they somehow worked. More than that. They were beautiful and needed and unifying. Several people from other houses said after they came in totally crappy moods and left feeling uplifted and reinvigorated. Praise the Lord!
God was moving when we began to taste the difference between voluntary simplicity/poverty and involuntary poverty. As I noticed our patience wearing thin during the days of no gas and no way to turn it back on, I also realized that this is a reality for countless numbers of people who can’t afford to pay their gas or electricity bill and must live with the consequences. This was a solidarity we didn’t anticipate. We learned that the freedom that comes from voluntarily simplifying our lives is the exact opposite of the stress that comes from the daily grind of poverty and unmet needs.
God was moving when we began January on a precipace. The stress of December was far from distant (pardon the pun?) and the challenge of January only pushed us further out into that precipace. We could have gone either way, pulling farther away from each other , or we could have rallied around each other and let the challenges draw us closer together. I think there was the temptation of the former, to deal with it individually and lett this challenge drive us further that apart, but I’d like to think the latter is the direction we’re heading! To a place of hard-fought joy and community and trust and support. A place that is unreachable without pain and risk and vulnerability. I think God is calling us to that scary, beautiful place.
I thank God for these few insights into His movements that just a tiny bit of hindsight has begun to unfold. I bet there are more to come!
Thanks for bearing with me in my hiatus, friends!