Wednesday, December 19, 2012

living community

Uzbek bread, raisins, cashews, & almonds
A few weeks ago, I sat down to an impromptu meal with an Uzbek family. Impromptu for me, but they had long planned to feed me dinner after I told them I'd be over at the end of the work day. Upon arriving, I was greeted at the door by the children, who welcomed me into their home like I was a long lost relative. I helped with homework, learned about Uzbekistan, listened to and shared family stories, and laughed. At one point during the meal, the father said, "When you eat bread together, you are family." His words have stuck with me for weeks now.

Sitting down for a meal together is something so simple that we often overlook it. How often do we grab dinner on the run? I've lived in intentional communities for 4 years now (college, FCV, JOY, and here). In each location, dinner time has been a sacred pause in our day. Some days, we cook and eat together sharing stories and rants about the day. It's a time to unwind, to check in with each other, and to laugh. As the father said, it's a time to build family (community) bonds.

A good fried from high school is moving in with us next week. Last night, I tried to explain this concept to her. How could I put this concept into words for someone who has never lived in community - or with roommates - before? I talked about sharing household expenses and tasks, cooking together, and setting aside time to spend with one another. I couldn't explain it clearly so I told her that she just needs to experience living it. Join us and our friends as we pile in our living room to watch the West Wing or go Christmas caroling through the neighborhood. Join us for coffee in the morning while we watch reruns. Join us for Mass or frisbee at the Lake when it's warm. Invite others over for dinner (or Saturday lunch) when we cook something delicious out of the same basic ingredients that we buy every week at the West Side market.

This morning, I was still trying to figure out a way to best describe my life when the Uzbek father stopped in my office to share some news. "When are you coming for dinner. My sons want to see their sister." I told him soon. Maybe I can take them around with me to explain family and community.

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