This past weekend we visited family in Austin for Thanksgiving. It was a great weekend -- lots of family time, football watching, book reading, outside playing, a really great run, and some Christmas thrown in (we'll be spending Christmas with a different side of the family, so we did double duty this weekend). As a bonus, we got to go to church on Sunday where we used to attend during our brief time in Austin, and we got to worship with and have lunch with a few of our dear friends that we made.
It got me to thinking about community, and about how we built such a solid little community in a city in which we lived only a year, something I'll always be grateful for. I think God new we needed these people in our life, even in a way that turned out differently than it started out (which could be and possibly one day will be a whole other blog post). It got me thinking about community, and some of the things that it takes to build the kind of community God set up for us to have. The every day, walking along side each other, in the trenches, doing life together kind of community. I think there are a lot of components to building that kind of community. Shared faith, commitment, desire. And the factor that was really on my mind this weekend was that of sharing our homes.
In some ways it's a small thing, and in others it's huge. Inviting people into your home requires a lot of vulnerability, but because of that it breaks down relationship barriers quickly. And I'm not talking about clean-for-days-and-pull-out-the-fancy-decorations. I'm talking about the I made a big pot of chili come over and share it, or come play games after dinner and don't mind the pile of laundry on the couch, or bring your kids over to play and by the way I haven't vacuumed in a week. Being real and open with people in your personal space builds trust, helps us relax with each other, and just really opens the door to doing real life together.
It's not something I always remember to do, because there have been times in my life that that kind of openness and home-sharing has just come naturally, and without thought. But sometimes you have to be deliberate. Ask, try, and make space for other people in your home. Because it's worth it.