Emily Timbol

Fiction Author. Good at making stuff up.

It Could Be Worse, We Could Be in Jersey


Community living is hard. While I had suspected that before I agreed to move into this house, it has definitely been confirmed for me these past two months. There have been a couple times where things have come up that have challenged me, like when one of my house mates took my clothes out of the dryer and left them in a balled up wrinkly heap, or, when another house mates adorable cat threw up not once, but twice, on my bed (which I’m not even mad about since I adore that damn cat.) But not until tonight, has there been something truly challenging that made me question not just why the hell I’m doing what I’m doing, but whether or not I can handle it.

Tonight I spent a little over two hours “talking” with a house mate of mine whom I’ve had a somewhat strained relationship with, since the beginning of my community living journey. I say “talked” since a lot of it was closer to yelling/screaming than talking, which was kind of frightening, as much for the two of us as it was for the other house mates, who were all in their rooms. One of them even came home in the middle of it and very hilariously and awkwardly walked right past us doing the best impersonation of an invisible man I’ve ever seen.

It was one of the most intense discussions I have had, which for someone who once told a classmate in middle school that she was going to hell for being Catholic, is saying something (don’t worry, I don’t still believe that.) It was intense partly because it was well overdue, as for the past couple months the tension between us had been simmering, and tonight it boiled over. Mostly though, it was intense because I think it was the only time I have ever began a discussion yelling at someone because I was sure I was right and they were wrong, and ended the discussion trying to convince them that they need to admit that I was the only wrong one, and that nothing was there fault.

In other words, put on a sweater, because Hell has officially frozen over.

As much as it pains me to admit, community living has shown me, over and over again, how selfish of a person I am. How willing I am to throw dignity and compassion to the wind over something as trivial as needing to wait 10 minutes for the shower. How flat out cruel I can be to someone who has been nothing but kind and patient with me, just because I don’t understand a few things about them. Basically, community living has sucked, because it has forced me to stare right in the face of my biggest character flaws, while at the same time robbing me of the ability to run away from them.

Of course, it hasn’t all been hard, and there have been times where I’ve been really glad to be here. Like the weeknights when we have taken turns cooking and all sat down to have dinner together, and I feel like I am living more with a family than roommates. Or the times like, after the “talk” tonight, where I see exactly how big, powerful, and amazing God is, for having the ability to totally and completely transform my attitude from hostility to humility in two short hours. But if I’m being honest, I have to admit, mostly, it’s been hard. But I don’t think that means I shouldn’t be here, at least for a little while, while I work out some of the reasons why I suck as bad as I do.

I’m glad I have the wisdom to realize that just because something is hard, that doesn’t mean it’s not exactly what you need. That’s what she said. Sorry, I didn’t mean to just ruin a really touching post. Heh, touching. Damnit, did it again. Oh well, 99% serious is about all I can handle.

Moral of the story, Christian community living is so much more difficult than the MTV kind. Maybe that has something to do with the booze and sex? I’ll bring that up at our next house meeting.

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