I had the joy of attending ‘potluck Friday’ at my friend and coworker’s home tonight.  I had been learning from her for about two years, I’d heard her home joys and frustrations, I’d heard her talk of the garden and the community.  The intentional community is what really interested and struck me.  She lives in community with 7 others (one being her husband).  There are two houses with four apartments and one giant garden.  I know this is happening with one of my coworkers and friends in the Burlington office as well.  Are others doing this?  Has this started to happen while I was gone?  I know this isn’t new but who else is doing this?  Do you like it?  Do you wish you were doing it?  Wanna get together with me and try it?  Although I don’t know where I’ll be living yet, there are definately aspects that intrigue me and give me comfort.

God calls us into community.  Scripture says how God created them male and female to be joined together (my incredibly loose translation, sorry).  We are called to be in community and fellowship, learning from one another and challenging one another.  That’s exciting!  That’s scary!

I will tell you that community is a gift.  Don’t take your friends and family for granted.  It is not the same everywhere.  Also, please look out for the outsider, the loner, the lonely, the visitor, the guest.  WELCOME THEM!  Bring them home!  Love them!  Don’t leave them!  You will be blessed.

Tonight I was surrounded by people I’d never met sharing a meal that we all helped to provide and it was a giant family.  We shared food, wine and stories.  We shared our lives.  We had missionaries from Kenya and Mexico and people from Algeria and all over the US.  We had new friends and old.  We had boyfriends, husbands, girlfriends, Franklin Farm community members (nickname of my friend’s intentional community – they live on Franklin street and have a backyard that is all garden), parents and coworkers.

Dinner wound down and homemade meringue pies came out.  Laughter abounded and a few hometown stories came out.  It was warming to my heart to talk about home and my surrounding areas.  Beaver and Hooker Oklahoma (don’t ask) and Coldwater.

Coldwater is my Dad’s hometown.  Population around 1000.  No stoplight.  Home of the Lazy T, the bar my Uncle and Aunt own.  Home of my Grandad and his old farm equipment where I used to play and make up grand stories as a kid.  I remember even writing a poem about playing in the grain truck when I was in sixth grade.

Somehow Coldwater came up and Steve said he’d been there, or maybe that he was from there.  I was shocked.  I didn’t know what to say except, “Really?”  He mentioned the even smaller town nearby and I suggested Haviland (although what I really meant was Wilmer).  He said no and then someone clarified that I was probably referring to Coldwater, Kansas and he was probably referring to Coldwater, Michigan.  We laughed and I shared my surprise that anyone there had been to Coldwater, Kansas.  No one had after all.

It was a beautiful evening and I really enjoyed myself.  As I stood to bid farewell, one of the final things I heard before I left was Steve.

“We’ll always have Coldwater.”