Last week Euns wrote about the ways in which the Lord is working on her heart up in Prince George, BC.
My living situation out East is in stark contrast to her peaceful apartment.
This year I am living in a loud, raucous, community house with six other young women. Avila House, named after Saint Teresa of Avila, began in September with the goal of gathering together young Christian women to live communally and challenge one another in our faith journeys. We buy groceries and prepare food together and really have to fight to spend time with one another. The latter can be very difficult because we’re all students with very different schedules. When we first set out to establish this house, everyone thought we were crazy and that it would be impossible and yet there has been no conflict or drama. There are A LOT of laughs shared, but trials and sad moments as well.
I grew up with a small immediate family and so it has been through living in community that I have come to embrace the chaos, uncertainty, and great blessings of living with many others. This experience is so valuable in preparing me for my future vocation, whether that be caring for a family, religious life, or living cooperatively while ministering and serving others.
In this space, the ordinary becomes sacred. Cleaning the house together, baking bread, hosting a holiday feast for friends who can’t be with family for the holidays; through all this we get to experience God’s deep love. The biggest challenge for me is not shying away from the responsibilities of community life. To be patient, to be open to new ways of doing things, to navigate other peoples’ busy schedules; all of these help me die to self, to come out of my selfishness. I have a responsibility to my sisters to help them flourish this year, just as they have the responsibility to ensure that I too am growing.
Last Friday, I lost it. I got so upset over a situation that I had no control over and my patience and resolve crumbled. My prideful, vengeful side reared its ugly head..but you know what? It didn’t faze them. I was incredibly humbled by the responses and insight of my roommates. They called me on my pity party, affirmed me, loved and encouraged me. When I was fretting, crying, pacing the floor, they picked me up.
So I am soaking up this season of abundance, whether it’s building a fort with the girls on a Friday evening and watching movies late into the night or letting my sisters take care of me when life beats me down. I do not know with any certainty where God will call me next, but I will likely be venturing to new places without the safe comforts of community life. And yet, these women have been such a formative part of my last year here at StFX and I know that when I’m called to other adventures, I will be more than prepared for the challenges that await.