As I look at our last couple of weeks together, personally, there are both ups and downs to reflect on. It had been one of those weeks. Those weeks where everyone seems to want something from you, something is due in every class, there are lots of places to be and lectures to see but not enough hours in the day (or night!) It was in that time that I was reminded of the true meaning of community.
While I can’t recall the specifics of the day, it’d been a long one of meetings and practice and lab but I came home to a bright and bustling kitchen and a hot dinner that’d been made especially for me. It really was just a simple piece of grilled chicken, but at the time I was so excited. I had hardly spoken to anyone in the house all day much less known of any dinner plans, but then there it was! And all of my housemates working or cleaning or just hanging out in the kitchen.
In the same week, we had a group meeting with our faculty advisor. This was intended as a reflection time on the semester up to November in effort to look at our strengths and weaknesses as a group in order to plan ahead and take steps forward. I cannot speak for anyone else, but in all honesty I had come to this meeting frustrated and unsure of what to expect. Not necessarily upset with any one thing or individual, just that as busy students I was wanting to do more as a community but not knowing how to realistically put that into practice. It was after we each anonymously wrote out one thing we were proud of as a group, and one thing we wanted to work on as a group and then shared them did I have the realization that I wasn’t alone. In both categories there were overwhelming majorities…we all thought the same things…we all wanted the same things for our community.
My final brief anecdote comes from Caritas Village. I am inspired by everyone I’ve met there on a routine basis. It has been a few weeks ago now, but was that same hectic busy time, and cold and rainy on top of that. I had spent the afternoon in the Library and really wanted to come home to crash, I just wasn’t in the mood for service as selfish as that sounds. But as the Ruka we’d made the commitment to help serve a meal for a youth retreat that evening. Allison and Paula went early to help set up and Emily, Robin and I followed shortly after to assist with the meal and then clean up. Caritas was full of 150 youth and leaders all buzzing and waiting anxiously for some chicken nachos (delicious too I might add).This room full of warm food, smiling faces and lots of laughter, I was instantly uplifted. The joy and comfort from that was contagious and it was rooted simply in that all these people were able to spend time together. We got to talk to some of the church leaders, kids and caritas staff all there giving up their Saturday night to be in fellowship, in community, with one another. It didn’t feel like service, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to lift my spirits.
I say all of these things, not to bore anyone with trivial stories, though it may offer some insight into our daily lives, but because these are the things that illustrate for me what a community really is all about. Not that we haven’t been up to other things, Robin and I had an adventurous hunt for supplies to make dishwasher detergent, we’ve created a relay for life team for the spring, and we’re in the midst of planning an open house but it’s the small moments of togetherness that have impacted me the most thus far. So, n the spirit of thanksgiving, I am thankful for Robin, Paula, Emily and Allison, for their willingness to put up with me and their caring hearts for Caritas, Rhodes, and each other and me. I am thankful to be a part of a community.
Happy Turkey Day!