Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thoughts on Community

There are many spanish speaking families in my neighborhood. One specific family a few doors down captures my attention on an almost daily basis. Of course, their many dogs might be the first reason for this, and our dog Oso is attune to the barking that echos up from their yard. He was, after all, born from Lucky, their black mix breed dog who sits on the front porch guarding her palace.

Most mornings around 7 am, the mothers of the couple families who live in the house go for a walk together. I only know the name of one, and she is a sweet soul. Though she can’t speak much english we exchange greetings often and she loves to check up on Oso and see how big he’s gotten. She wears jeans and walks with her chin up and a soft smile on her face. Sometimes I wish I could knock on the door at any time of the day and just watch the way they live. Watch the way they cook, the way they laugh together in the evenings, ask them what the secret is to their apparent ease.

We often joke with some close friends of ours about living in a commune together. Sharing a garden, a lawn mower, power tools... eating our meals together and raising our kids together. We joke, but we dream of it too.

I sneak up to the window and watch these woman walk past my house most every day. I find myself envying them. Their friendship, their community, their lightness.

Sometimes I get tangled in the web that wraps around the ladder of image. What would people think if we moved in to a house with friends? What would these woman think if I asked to walk with them in the mornings?

What would people think...? Such a meaningless question most of the time.


The Hansen's said...

Oh Alli... love this post. we should have a big conversation next time I see you :) I am not sure how many places i have let Dave drag me to to look at for the sole purpose of making a "community living" home work!!! From big farm houses, to old churches, to warehouses, to old community centers (with 3 dead rodents none the less and a dead bird inside!!)!

I used to be so afraid to even think about such a thing. But, the longer I live life the more i see God's desire for us to live within community. I think this can mean so many different things. There are SO many benefits for living with friends... too many to count. Then I start to fear the possibility of "too much of anything is just too much"... would we stay friends and build and nurture our relationships the way God desires or would we let petty things like dirty dishes left undone and hogging of the washing machine kill our once very loving friendship? I just don't know.

I love the idea of sharing "things", raising children together, gardening & canning together, and creating a hospitable place for others to come and be loved in.

What if...???? So many great thoughts. Perhaps someday we can pull up to your house unexpectedly and you will have a cold and Kirk will be out with James and your friend roommates will be making soup for you while you rest and Kirk gathers the groceries in your shared vehicle? And you won't have to feel bad about them making you soup because when their kids were sick 2 weeks ago you did all their laundry and made their meals. What if...??? It could happen :) Life could be so different, together, huh?

great post. keep thinking on that... i love it.

Don said...

Alli, I always love reading your blog. Just thought I'd let you know that.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog and your heart. I also love your music...I just bought two of your CDs on iTunes.

Shannan Walker

Judy said...

Loved reading about your Spanish neighbors, I have similar feelings about our Bosnian nextdoor neighbors. The mom only speaks a few words of English and I want so much to get to know her and learn about their culture. The 2 sons speak English so we've had a lot of fun with them. We recently attended the wedding of one of the boys. They are living next door also till he is out of college. Their new daughter-in-law is willing to interpret so looking forward to 'talks' across the fence.
Community living - funny we had some of the same ideas when were young. Annie and Dan had some of the same thoughts and ideas when in Colorado. I love your generation!

jamie said...

alli- i randomly saw your blog post from Jess Hansen's blog and clicked it on.(i'm from CF too) this subject is so intriguing isn't it! we actually have done this- it's the best thing we have ever done- it's that feeling after you have gone a trip with your church Body or done a long road trip with friends- the feeling of "how do we keep this community thing back at home..?"
We share a mower :), we share babysitting, we say ok what do you have in the fridge lets combine and eat, they aren't afraid to tell my kids to chill, when my husband travels it's so awesome to know they are here.
we have had other friends come over and they say "it's like you guys live in the dorms but now you have families" :)
it's such a blessing- it's not American.. because our junk is on the table and we can't just shut our garage door and hide!
if you want to know more of what we do etc totally email me- jamiekampman@yahoo.com


Kara said...

I think it's a challenging concept. Honestly, something similar was brought up in one of our small groups, the commune thing. We all laughed and joked but then someone said, "No, really." This is how the church used to live."

For some reason, at the time this didn't sit well with me, but five years later I think I understand it better. It doesn't seem so radical anymore, but instead just wonderful.

Don't worry: we're not moving in (yet); however, we feel really blessed to walk in community with you guys. And like you, I really envy what those women have. Just complete transparency in knowing each other so well. To be known completely and loved in spite of it. I'll bet that's where their looks of ease come from: the burden is lighter with someone to help carry load.