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Friday, April 14, 2017

Shared Life


We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”
Dorothy Day

I wonder who you consider your community. Who is in, who is out? Is it large, is it small? How intimate is it? A friend and I are contemplating, and have been for decades, the possibility of developing a cooperative co-housing community. There are only two of us, and even so, our ideas are light years different. Think what it would be like to try to get ten or twelve people to agree on one vision, and then concentrate their efforts on making it happen. That requires commitment from all, and a singular focus. It means fund-raising, choosing a type of housing everyone finds agreeable, looking for a site, finding the right contractor, figuring out how to balance the various levels of financial capability. At each step, consensus is required. Will it be a community organized around service, around mutual support, around shared space and housing, around an ideology of ecology, spirituality or social justice—what sort of community would it be? What level of day-to-day time and energy would be required from each participant? How would you solve problems, resolve differences? There's a lot to consider.

When I was twenty-five, or even forty-five, I would have jumped into such a project like a mad, fierce kangaroo. I would have rounded up a crowd, called a meeting, drawn up an organizational chart, assigned duties, and had this thing rolling without even breaking a sweat. But as we age, we slow down. We still keep busy, but everything seems to take longer, and we feel tired faster. We have less need to prove anything, or to push any cause, or to go to the lengths necessary to cajole and convince someone else to share our vision. It is not so much that we have less energy as it is quieter energy, slower energy, more sedate energy. At this point in my life, I just want to live simply, among people I love, and who love me. I want to do my share, give what I can, and help when I'm able. To me, that's what community means. It's not hard, it's not driven. It's comforting, and stimulating, and safe, both physically and psychologically. I wonder what community means to you, and whether you have it.

                                                                In the Spirit,

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