When I moved into Jesus People, I moved into a room two doors down from another woman named Sarah. Sarah was, and is, one of my best friends. I had never connected with someone so quickly, but little did I know that this life would be filled with new things. Living in community is filled with unexpected instances.
At Jesus People USA, you not only work together, but also live together. The common faith is Christianity, and we all try to live out our faith in the day-to-day. That can be both hard and rewarding.
When I started working at Cornerstone Community Outreach, I looked doe-eyed and scared, according to someone who used to live at this shelter. I would make mistakes and go running to my friend, Sarah, asking if there was any way I could fix what I did. To my desperate pleas, Sarah always said, “There is no mistake that can’t be fixed.” In my mind, I would add the words “somehow, sometime, but maybe not soon enough.” This is because I am hard on myself, in general.
There have been times when I have had to confront a person when they offended me. Every interaction, if we remembered to look outside ourselves, can end in a new understanding of the other person, or people. That doesn’t mean that everything ends up happy-go-lucky. Life is full of good and bad surprises, challenges we face. We are all imperfect.
If I am not humble enough to admit my faults and show my weaknesses, living in community is not fun. I tend to work to put up a wall of strength that just causes me stress. Once, a friend told me that I needed to communicate my needs more. I kind of knew what she meant, but I didn’t want to accept it.
I had walked out of a room of friends because I felt like I was going to have a seizure. Yes, I have epilepsy, and it can be challenging for others to understand my needs. If the ceiling fan was not going while the overhead light was on, I would have been fine.
From the moment on when my friend told me to communicate, I have asked others to blow out a candle or turn off a ceiling fan when the overhead light is on. These are simple things that may inconvenience someone, but it doesn’t hurt to communicate and be humble, because these are needs I have for my health and spiritual well-being living in community.