My hands smell like oregano. I spent the last hour washing my car and tending the garden that I dreamed of while I was in Mexico. It’s an unruly garden, vegetables mixed in with flowers, and the oregano plant taking over the front half, but I love its unruliness. My thoughts wandered to my own garden as I was trying to tame the oregano plant. Jill, a wise friend and mentor that I rely on to sort out lots of my thoughts, has introduced me to the idea of “my” garden. How is your garden? She often refers to her own garden when describing her life. “Tending the garden” has become synonymous with caring for oneself.

My garden… it look s a lot like the garden in the yard. It sits off to the side, patiently waiting to be watered and tended, and becoming unruly. It is thought of often, but taken care of very rarely.

I’m becoming very passionate about the idea of intentional community. After visiting this place and reading this book, and thinking about living in this place, I’m intrigued about the idea an opportunity to live in a part of the world that makes life together an important focus. The buzzword “community” has been spinning in my head for years- I was a part of an organization in college whose missions was to “create community, develop disciples, and launch leaders.” There are things about that community that I loved, and things that I hated, things that still hurt me and friends of mine to this day. I became a part of a community of vagabonds at the villa in France, and watched as my cousin’s shared their lives with students and staff at El Pozo in Mexico. That experience renewed and restored my broken sense of community

I see community in a very broad context. I see it in the little church that my grandparents have attended most of their adult lives. I see it in the library, in the grocery store, and at the tiny farmer’s market in our town. I watch my mom’s staff become like a family, sharing garden goods and life stories and chocolate muffins. I’m saddened by isolation in this country, by nuclear families who spend so much time alone. I ache to share my life with others and to not be pulled away from them after a few months. I don’t have a utopian idealism surrounding this idea- community is messy, relationships are messy, and community decisions can erupt in brutal controversy. But for as much conflict surrounds the messiness of human relationships, there are an equal number of uplifting moments. I’m intrigued by the possibility of living in a place that puts human relationships on the top of the priority list, and I think that my idea of vocation can be nurtured in an environment like that.

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