Returning to the Ruka during winter break set the tone for this semester. Although we had all moaned at the prospect of returning early as we planned for our Spring Semester Retreat, there was a definite peace that we all returned. Last fall and summer we had been adjusting to one another, Caritas, our busy schedules, and the impending uncertainty of what it means to be done with our undergraduate experience. There was a shift over break in all of us that has brought a different energy and joy to living in the house.
In our first meeting Sarah had set the tone by establishing the group norm of having fun together. From that moment all of our previous frustrations and stressful relationships have thawed out to present some hilarious moments, new found trust, and energy in this final semester. We mapped our life as the Ruka on a giant roll of butcher paper by drawing the events, food, and times we have shared. Some images include cupcakes, passive aggressive sticky notes, and bicycles to give you an idea of our collective artistic talents. After our retreat we were able to enjoy a meal together with BMZ and laugh. We Really laughed. Thankfully that laughter has continued.
This week we are facilitating story circles at Caritas as a part of the US Department of Arts & Culture’s People’s State of the Union. While in the past an event like this might have been stressful, under the current circumstances I am so excited to share this with other community members and do it as a group. Our relationships with Caritas are growing despite the cold weather.
It has occurred to me that every relationship we have has the capacity to get complicated and frustrating. As housemates, we have all hurt one another to certain extents and we have the option of letting that determine how we treat or think about one another. It feels as if we perpetually decide whether or not to forgive one another and choose to love. In spending time with Onie, and others at Caritas, it would be really easy to be overly sensitive to rejection when it is your mission to be present for a community. However, in this dedication to live together I have found it hurts to be in relationship, but by continuously electing to live in community we are dredging up a deeper part of ourselves that is both challenged and grown through the process. I am so thankful for these women, BMZ, and Caritas. I am learning how to love and care deeply.