Living in community is hard.
It’s also engrossing, fulfilling, heartwarming, and at times, heart-breaking.
More than anything, living in community is a sure-fire way to be present at any given moment to your self-worth, your self-esteem, and self-sufficiency.
Living on top of each other — which is what you do when you live on a small kibbutz, at least — means you are every day faced with fitting in, belonging, needing, giving, taking, believing, doubting, judging, questioning, accepting, committing, avoiding.
Your heart just sits there in the front seat of a roller coaster ride.
Some days trekking slowly slowly to the top — excitement building. You can hardly breathe. Other days, a swift ride to the very bottom. You can hardly breathe.
But in a different kind of way.
Who chooses this life? This togetherness?
Who forfeits the privacy, the independence, the safe separate-ness of living in a large city or a large suburb with long driveways and electric garage door openers?
There are days when I want to run away to that large city; hide inside a dark suburban garage.
You can’t do that on kibbutz.
You can’t avoid the neighbor who insulted you.
Or the friend who disappointed you.
Or the child who bullied yours.
You can certainly try.
But as you cross paths time and again, each time reminded of the injury, the insult, the suffering, you have a choice to make.
Be with the suffering,
There’s no avoiding. Not for long, anyway.
There’s just choosing to suffer or choosing to heal.
Living in community is hard.
But no harder than life.
Living here, in community, is like living in a petri dish of evolution. Of social innovation. Of personal development.
Of love and compassion.
For yourself and for your neighbors.
And it’s hard some days.
Other days, though, miracles happen .. right before your very eyes.
5 thoughts on “Community isn’t just a funny show on the TV”
Thank you. I assume I inspired you on this one? Thanks for your ears and honesty as always. THAT’S what I love about you.
You and many others inspired me. This is life in community. 🙂
This is an excellent piece, Jen. Those who live in the cities here do not understand what living on a yishuv, kibbutz or moshav is like. There is so much to appreciate and enjoy about it, and so much which is frustrating and annoying. In the end, I would not move or live anywhere else. At least right now.
My hats off to you that you are living that life successfully (even with the ups and downs) and seeing it through. I tried communal living myself and it was a disaster…but I think it was a case of me choosing a place that wasn’t right for me, and wasn’t shared by people with the same values. Ah well…I will live vicariously through your experiences and seek my own community, on a more town/region-wide scale!
Identify!! Now should I write the scathing words about something that really annoyed me last week? Or should I just breathe deeply, let it pass and avoid the conflict my words will inevitably cause? Instead I choose to enjoy the pastoral place that I live, celebrate that I always have a neighbour to help, borrow milk from and check on my kids and forget about the other “issues”. For the meantime.