Dying for Community

Ever since I can remember, I have lived in an open house.  People have just felt welcome to pop in when they’re in the neighbourhood, come in for a chat, and then stay for dinner…and sometimes for days or weeks.  I loved my childhood, because so many different kinds of people were in my house all the time; people we met at Qwanoes summer camp who needed a place to stay for a week here and there, my Dad’s car friends, family from both sides, someone even set up a camper in our driveway once for a couple weeks.  As we grew up, our friends got their own licences and started to stop by, even if we weren’t there.  One friend of my brother’s would come into the house for dinner whenever he was around…rarely wearing a shirt.  He was THAT comfortable.

When Tyler died, a lot of that died with him…for a time.  We could barely be together as immediate family for awhile, much less exude a welcoming home for others.  I also married someone who did not grow up like that, and didn’t see the joy in having an open door policy.  I remember our first fight as a married couple involving my dream to let single moms stay for free in the basement of the house we’d own one day…and his horror at the very idea of that.  He wasn’t wrong, he was just very different from me.  I could never understand why a home full of laughter and chaos and kids playing and people just being together could EVER be a bad thing.  And I still can’t.

These days, I’m living at home again…and my family is getting back to living in community slowly but surely.  This month, I have finally felt ok to start thinking about moving out on my own again.  I hadn’t felt that way for the past year…but now, I’m starting to have the desire to be on my own, and have my own space in the world.  And I have never lived completely on my own; not really.  I’m excited for that step…BUT.  What about community?  I alternate between wanting the pristine fortress of solitude that I know I can easily create, and the very basic home that welcomes all of my friends, family, and any other person God sees fit to introduce into my life.  The part of me that wants a new pair of shoes everyday wants the high-end condo that sits in the high tower so I can look down at the world below…the part of me that desires communion with God wants to create a place of community for everyone in desperate need of it.  And these days, that’s everyone.

I don’t think that most of us know it, but we’re cutting eachother out of our lives, and it’s killing us.  We’re lonely.  We’re alone.  The funny thing is…we’re united in that feeling.  I was fortunate enough to grow up in a community.  I feel called to create that place of community so that you can experience it, too.

I think I just decided againt the highrise condo 😉

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5 Comments

  1. robyn

    Love it! We have an open door policy at our house, and I think our kids are better people for it. Everyone and anyone is welcome in our backyard for a drink or to stop by unannounced for dinner. I would never trade that for a highrise condo.
    xo

  2. briannacarson

    I’m so glad to hear that other people value this…I’ll be over for a drink soon!!!

  3. It’s funny, we were just talking about this over dinner last night with some friends. We were talking about “how” you create a home where people can walk in unannounced, whenever. And we realized its a bit about letting go of your pride and keeping up a “perfect house” image.

    I am really excited to have this one day. In fact, its one of the only reasons I want a home for myself – as a means to create community. I am glad other people (including Matt) like this idea too.

  4. briannacarson

    I think you’re right Sharelle…if something’s gotta give, it should be the June Cleaver-type perfection; cuz who cares anyway???

  5. I love that! I did not grow up this way but I’ve always had the dream of building a big family and having an open home where my kids’ friends and our friends would come and go whenever. It’s nice to hear about a successful example of this actually playing out in real life and not just in my head. 🙂 Thank you!
    And as for the previous comment, I TOTALLY agree that one of the biggest obstacles to that is letting go of the June Cleaver image with the perfectly kept house.

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