Tuesday, July 06, 2010

30-Day Trek: Freedom from Pretense

"Everyone...had all things in common. They...ate their food with glad and generous hearts." - Acts 2:43-47

The writer of today's Trek reflection ponders how our wealth affects us. Linda Gehman Peachey writes, "While I enjoy the comfort of my home, have I given up the freedom to feel at home with others? While I cherish my independence, have I given up the freedom to admit my needs to others?"

This our important question. We desire to model living in community to our children. This is sometimes hard in the U.S. where kids grow learning "mine-mine" before they learn to share. Is this part of our nature as humans? How can we counter this urge to hog the best things for ourselves.

Our friends the Schultzes, who are also doing this 30-Day Trek with us, just moved into a cohousing community in Fresno. La Querencia is located in northeast Fresno and is an intentional community where people live and share resources. The houses are built with recycle and earth-friendly materials. They use solar panels for energy. They have a community pool, workout room, dining commons, craft area, organic garden and more. All the town houses face each other so the community centers around interaction. There are people of all ages, religious backgrounds, etc. who live together there. We are so excited to see how the Schultzes learn a new way of life living in this intentional community.

We learned the joys and challenges of cohousing when my grandpa lived with us for a year when we first got married. He was to a point where he could not live in his home alone but none of our family was quite ready to have him in a nursing home. Ericlee and I were newly-married but we knew we had the space in our house. Some people thought we were crazy to invite our 90-something grandpa into our personal space. But we have no regrets. We learned so much that year. I learned patience as my slow-moving grandpa went everywhere with us. I also had the joy of hearing lots of stories from his life. I was encouraged by his presence. In a way, that experience of living with grandpa prepared me for parenting.

My parents also lived with us for about a year when they first moved to Fresno and were looking for a house to buy. This was a special time because Meilani was born and developed a special bond with her grandparents during this first year of life. We shared meals and resources and learned a lot about compromise. We wouldn't trade those lessons for the world.

We also have learned about sharing food and resources through our Life Group. We gather with four other couples from our church every other week for a meal and time of prayer. We now have 10 kids in the group plus all the adults. Needless to say, it's chaos, but it sure is fun. We each bring a part of the meal. Through this group we have freely shared items like camping gear, tools, food from our gardens, kids' clothes, kitchen utensils and recipes. There is a deep satisfaction in sharing what we have with each other. More importantly, we encourage each other on the journey of parenting and in our marriages.

Do we use the things we own to build walls or bridges between ourselves and others?

1 comment:

VM Family said...

That story of the early church from Acts 2 was one I told during VBS last week (so Meilani knows it too!). Telling the story was a reminder to me what a blessing that, as memebers of a church, we DO have a community to share with. Food, baby gear, cars, childcare, needs, prayers, joys, worship and simple fellowship. As a perfect illustration, the day I taught the lesson it was my turn to bring dinner to a family in our church who is dealing with cancer.

I love that Acts 2 example and I love that we've been blessed with our own version of it!