The Ruka has been a-buzz this last week with the Open House last weekend, our first Community Meal on Wednesday, and Lauren’s 21st birthday yesterday. It’s been so much fun to have so many people, from Caritas volunteers to Crew teammates to PA friends to Rhodes professors to best friends in and out of the house. There’s so much I can say about all the people we’ve had over and all the conversations we’ve had, but I want to focus on the Community Meal because it was such an exceptional experience.
As members of the Ruka, we have agreed, as part of our fellowship, to host one community meal per month, for which we’ll invite between 2-3 community members and/or Rhodes professors to our house for dinner. For our very first community meal, we hosted Professor Gray, a religious studies professor at Rhodes, who has taught several of us in class, and Beverly Pfluger, one of Rhodes’s excellent Career Services counselors and the co-director of the Summer Service Program that Abbey and I were a part of this past summer. Abbey, Lauren, Claire, Iris, and I cleaned up the house and prepared Italian herb chicken and baked sweet potatoes before they arrived, and P.Gray and Beverly brought focaccia bread, salad, and the lively conversation. We had a great night, all gathered around our circular table in the dining room, learning how we all wound up at Rhodes, reminiscing on Search and Life classes with P.Gray freshman year, and listening to Beverly’s wise advice on how to live together in a community. (She recommends focusing on the positives and reminding ourselves why we love each other, rather than obsessing about the negatives (e.g. So-and-So hasn’t washed her dishes again!). We all found this to be rather timely advice.)
And that brings me to my final thought for the week. It’s not always easy living with good friends. Already, we’ve experienced frustration with one another. I’ve harbored resentment towards others, like Beverly was alluding to, and kept my feelings bottled up inside when I really just needed to let someone know how I felt. And that’s not how it should be. Walking on eggshells around delicate subjects isn’t fun for anyone, and just because we’re close friends, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t tell one another how we truly feel for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. I’ve learned that I need to be more open to my sharing my own feelings and listening to others’ as well because loving one another and listening well to one another is what community is all about, even through difficult conversations.