On Community Life

by Lesley-Ann Hix

People think we’re hippies.  You tell someone you’re living in community, and everyone automatically thinks you’re the free love sort.  Welp, we’re not that kind of free love, but we do like to love on everyone, and I guess we are a little granola.

I love living in community.  It’s not a dreamland, for sure.  But it is messy beautiful.  None of us have to cook every night.  None of us have to do the dishes every day.  None of us have to take the trash out every time.  Sharing responsibilities and resources is a wonderful thing.

We share hope and spirit too.  I have 9 people I get to tell my confusions and they will think through them with me just as if they were their own.

“I don’t know what to do, Kelia,” I blurted out one day.  “I will be missing a community meal, and I’ll have to travel again, and I hate that.  But if I stay, I will miss out on the family tradition I’ve already missed the past three years.”

Three days after that first confession, I was hanging out with Kelia.  I had put my weekend dilemma out of my mind—just planning to fly by the seat of my pants on that one—I didn’t think it was worth pining about too much.

“I’ve been thinking about this weekend,” she said to me.  “I think you should go.  You should go be with your family.”

Never have I been in a place that surrounds me with people who are so intentional with their words, actions, emotions, thoughts.  My fellow Radishes are really good at hearing another person’s consuming thoughts and taking the whirlwind of thinking on themselves for awhile.  I’m learning a lot by being around them, and I am a better person because they each push me to see life a different way and embrace the small voices within myself.

Greg encourages me to stretch my normalcy and to dig deep in search of those places of transformation.  He keeps me accountable to my own need to be reflective and in conversation with authors, poets and my fellow Radishes.

Helms, with her consistently creative spirit, challenges me to recognize new life in any thing.  Around her I notice how the Spirit drenches every corner, crevice, wrinkle of everyday life.

Tiffany keeps me accountable to seeking my own wholeness.  She compassionately helps me embody the counter-culture values we affirm.

Joe calmly, humbly and consistently works and hangs out.  Around him, I remember to tap into my patience and profound strength, practicing a deeper trust in God.

Caroline always values every voice around her.  She makes me strive to be more honoring of the voices around me, creating more space for shared conversations and holy listening.

 

Kelia offers me a space of embrace and affirmation.  Even in my hesitancies and stumblings, she teaches me the depth of grace, helping me learn to laugh and live out of my limitations.

John Tyson’s ability to think critically and make connections across all aspects of his life encourages me to pay attention to the way every body and every thing is intricately connected.

Zeb’s gentle spirit and wonder offer me incredible insight into the mystery and creativity of God, keeping me actively engaging my imagination.

Ky has a lot to say even though he hasn’t quite got the hang of words, so he reminds me how full of life we all are.  He loves without reservation, helping me understand what trust and grace look like.