Ever since I can remember, I have dreamt of seeing your country. I have had many great adventures in this world, but nothing can dampen that yearning. I know I am hardly worthy but, with your permission, I will lay down my sword for the joy of seeing your country with my own eyes.
~ Reepicheep, Voyage of the Dawn Treader
It has been a long roller coaster of a summer full of highs and lows. I got to be a part of my little sister’s wedding, saw family and old friends. Amanda and I got to go to a conference where we met a couple hundred people who share our sense of calling and passions; which was quite validating. Amanda has been promoted at her job and I’m looking at being promoted in this next month. There is much to be thankful for. We’ve also been in the valley for a long few months. Since the conference we lost the house we were trying to buy. A hurricane blew a tree onto the house we currently live in. The Bayou St. John community within the Communitas Order has been living with one foot in the neighborhood we’ve been trying to move to and the other in Uptown. Communitas as a whole has experienced its own set of disappointments and conflicts that have challenged the very fabric of who we are and why we are here doing what we do. Some relationships have been restoring while others have not. For those of us who have been left out of the conversations where restoration has begun we are stuck in a lonely place of asking hard questions and wresting with doubts that are deeply personal in nature.
Will this ever be the same?
Do we even want things to be the same if this is where it gets us?
Do we have the capacity to build trust yet again?
Will we ever get back to good?
Yeah – community isn’t always fun and games, dinner/block parties, Mardi Gras or a laissez le bon temps rouler way of life. Sometimes it is but others you are down in the trenches asking these very same questions. This, I think, is the reason why the Benedictine monks across the lake call this way of life a severe grace. It certainly isn’t anything special within us or any sort of grit we possess that somehow others don’t which enable us to live by the vows that we do. It is more like that line in “Amazing Grace” – ‘Tis grace that’s brought me safe thus far/And Grace will lead me home. Living in a community as a vowed order is a severe grace because it is only through the dynamic and active work of God that enables us to keep going. That knowledge doesn’t make me feel better in this moment but it is a blessed assurance that this isn’t the end of the road.
So summer has been littered with challenges and my exhaustion has seeped to deep in my bones. However, just as I believed that I have reached my limit with this Summer Purgatory October 1 arrives. For New Orleans, this is the true beginning of fall. The winds change direction and overnight the temperature drops by twenty degrees. The humidity is still around 85% but for the first time in what seems like eternity we are looking around for a jacket because the season has now changed.
October 1 also marks another significant day for us. After dreaming and scheming for the better part of this year about the Bayou St. John neighborhood we are finally moving! We found an apartment to rent right on the Bayou with a view overlooking City park for the next six months while we look for a house that is affordable and can fit us all. We signed our lease over the weekend and pick up our keys today. Tonight we will be going to sleep as residents of the Bayou St. John Neighborhood. There has been a great anticipation for this moment within our house for a very long time. What is more, we are the first replicated community that has come out of Communitas. Our task, in part, is to pioneer what it takes to replicate well and be an example for the all of the communities we intend to replicate and send in the future. There is a great hope and expectation for adventure inside me, in spite of my weariness, because the winds have changed and a new season has come.