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Thursday, August 1, 2013

a letter to my love: our community

This is our first picture together, taken when we still little baby Jesuit Volunteers.  We both loved our respective communities (mine in Syracuse, New York, and yours in Hartford, Connecticut).  We loved community life so much that when we later moved to Milwaukee, we decided to start our own intential community.  

We had a vision of a "grown-up" community, an intentional housing space for young adults who wanted to continue the experience they had in their volunteer programs.  We would share meals and groceries and participate in community and spirituality nights.  Community life would help us live our values of simple living and working to make the world a better place.  Because we had friends that were interested in the experiment but couldn't live in the actual community space, we also invented an option for "associate members."  These members would join us for community events and be considered part of our extended community.  Later we decided this was the greatest strength of the community.  People thought we were crazy for starting a community as an engaged couple, but people thinking we're crazy never stopped us from doing anything.  

Two years ago, we moved into our new community, the Casey Sister-Brotherhood, and invited a few others to live with us.  We put so much work into starting the project, and we both grew in unexpected ways from the experience.  The personality combination in our house was a struggle, and through that I learned the value of being honest with difficult feelings and the power of reconciliation.  We also made some of our best Milwaukee friendships through our community and found comfort in friends who understood our values and where we were coming from.  Neither of our baby Jesuit Volunteer selves could have predicted the challenges and rewards of "grown-up" community life.  But I know they would have been really happy that we gave this dream a chance.  

Twenty four months after we signed our first lease, we've decided it's time to move out and to live on our own for the first time as a married couple.  We'll now be associate members and get to enjoy the support of community  relationships without the ups and downs of living with people we're not married to.  I can't wait.   

To my former-baby-Jesuit-Volunteer-love: thank you so much for going on this adventure with me.  Couldn't think of anyone better to have by my side. 

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