being thrown together with a stranger and told to learn how to live in community with that person for the next eleven months is challenging — intentional community is hard. it’s constant work, even on the days when you might not feel like putting in the effort because you’ve had a long day and are exhausted. it’s learning to communicate your needs effectively and being willing to listen when your housemate communicates hers. living in community is more than just being roommates, it’s entering into a covenantal relationship with someone and learning how to grow from the experiences you share together, even when it’s difficult.

living in intentional community with a stranger was the facet of this program that i was the most worried about going into my year of service, and yet, now that I’m almost done, it is the area in which i have grown the most. coexisting with someone so different from myself has been both a challenge and a blessing in my life. prior to living in this yasc community (which we have decided to call the lighthouse, because we both love the imagery that it conjures), it was easy to surround myself with similar people: those who had complementary interests, personalities, passions, and confrontation styles. life is not always filled with like-minded people, however, and living with someone who is the night to my day has been an eye-opening experience; one which has better prepared me for service. my conflict management styles have been put into practice, and so have my listening skills. i have learned how to serve the needs of another while still paying attention to my own needs. i have learned how see the positive even in the most stressful of times. and, most importantly, i have bonded and grown with my roommate through all the crazy ups and downs that come with this experience

living with my housemate has gotten me out of my comfort zone in so many ways, and i’m forever grateful for that.