I AM THRU YOU, SO I

THE BENEFITS OF COMMUNITY LIVING

I’ve just finished packing up 7(ish) years of life. The majority of my 20s, post uni and pre any serious responsibility on what we might classify as the ‘normal adult life’ trajectory — (but then, what is that really anyway?!).

During that time I’ve had the privilege of living with the most creative and eclectic group of human beings imaginagble. Initially all starting off as strangers, each have profoundly and generously shown me what it looks like to love whole-heartedly and well in their own unique way, and as such, who I’m now pleased to call family, as well as friends.

We’ve shared what must be 100s of meals round a table, celebrated countless birthdays (close to 50) and drunk God knows how many bottles of wine. Between us we’ve had incredible highs and successes; new jobs, travels, dates, degrees, creative ops and weddings — as well as tangible pain that bubbled up in our lives; parents’ divorce, law suits, breakups, unemployemnt, death, and chronic illness. In all of those moments, we gradually learnt what was needed in those situations and what was not, and perhaps sometimes in hindsight.

Normally it’s just presence. Indeed, by committing to ‘being in the room’ so to speak, we find real resonance in relation to one another. It is the gift (of the ‘I am’, us) to be able to acknowledge the other first (the ‘you’) in the picture, that we find ourselves in the truest sense of our being (the ‘I’), according to David Steindl-Rast.

JS Quoting David Steindl-Rast // Print inspired by the work of Anthony Burrill

So to keep things short and snappy, here’s a few practical things I’ve learnt living in community with others:

I could keep going, but I’m deliriously tired from packing and it’s only Monday. So that’s it — like the last episode of friends — ‘an the end of an era!’ As I’m sitting, surrounded by boxes, my heart feels heavy with gratitude; as well as a bitter-sweet pang of sadness knowing this chapter is drawing to a close. Like anything that’s good and of value, it requires investment. It also requires risk. A risk to connect without holding back - for fear of hurt or disappointment - not an easy task in the fluidity of London life.

However friendships are something deep and true and leave a beautiful mark under the surface — one, that if done well, lasts a lifetime. As David Steindl-Rast again puts so gently and wisely when addressing how to live life well and with others:

‘Time is one opportunity after another,

Hope is openness for surprise,

Love is a wholehearted YES to limitless belonging…’

weaving waves, words and matter //@jensturrock www.jennifersturrock.com

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