|We watched the fireworks from a field next |
to the Ambassador Bridge!
Of course, there's no single idea of what intentional community means, or one strict set of rules. Instead, we made a covenant together. The covenant lists things that we will not do (drinking in the church) things that we will do (touching base every Wednesday evening when we're done with work) and methods for conflict resolution (listening to other's views, seeking mediation from a third party.)
I know that it sounds like we're just sitting in a circle, holding hands and singing kumbya all day, but we do actually get work done.
We've been living in intentional community for a month now, so I feel like I've had a decent amount of experience with it, enough to have some idea about how it's working. I think it's working well, and it's forcing me to be more thoughtful in understanding others.
It's funny, because I didn't choose these people. It's not that I dislike anyone, but based off first impressions, I don't think I would have gone out of my comfort zone to form relationships without being pushed.
So far, this process has changed the way I view communities and relationships. In the past, I've been a big believer in strong communities in the abstract. However, I found it very hard to build that in practice. I'm fairly achievement-oriented, and I find that I'm good at reaching measurable goals. For instance, I've set a goal this summer of saving a specific amount of money, and every time I think about going out for lunch or coffee, I'm considering how it will effect my savings goal. It's hard to set and reach measurable goals when it comes to community. I don't know what success or failure look like here, and that makes it hard for me to understand progress and growth.
This difference in mindsets is something that I've been working hard to mediate. I've ended up finding different experiences that I can analyze and count as successes or failures, and learning experiences either way. Last weekend, we had some weird, tense feelings going on throughout the group. Our roles as interns are fairly undefined, and that made work confusing and stressful for some of us. Myself and one of my co-workers ended up talking to a mentor about it, and she came to our Wednesday night covenant meeting. At the covenant meeting, I think we opened up about some of the difficulties we were having in working together. It seems to have worked well, and I think everyone has been a little more in touch with each other since that night. We also discussed the need for more shared leisure activities. Now, we have plans to go to the beach in a few weeks, and bake cakes and brownies together this weekend.
I've noticed in the past, that when I've lived and worked with people, everyone ends up becoming very close. There are people who I worked with at camp who I haven't seen in two years, and if they asked a favor of me, I would do it. At other jobs I held two years ago, there are people whose names I don't remember. It makes sense that the added proximity of living together would strengthen relationships, but it's surprising for me in practice. I look forward to building that kind of connection with my fellow Motown Mission interns this year, and keeping in touch for the future.