And they broke tacos together…
“Why would you ever want to do that?”
“Are you guys crazy?”
“Are you serious?”
That was my initial reaction over a year and a half ago when I first heard that my family wanted to buy one big house, move in together and live in intentional community.
I was against the idea because living with NINE(!) other people seemed crazy to me. I also worried about living with my nieces and nephew. I thought they would never be quiet, I would never again be left alone and I was just going to be perma-stressed. So needless to say, I was not excited for the new course of life my family was taking.
In September 2016, I left to go to school in Toronto and didn’t hear much more about the idea of buying a house. It was briefly mentioned at Thanksgiving and again at Christmas time, but it didn’t seem like plans were moving forward.
Then one day in March, I was at school sitting in the lounge with my friends when I get a text from my Dad, out of the blue, saying that our old house was sold and that everyone had bought a new house together. “Oh yeah, here is the address and moving date…”
I was shocked! I hadn’t even known our house was on the market, let alone sold. I worried about my job, about how I would get to work when I came back from school, what was going to be expected of me and what I would need to do in the new house.
So when school ended, I moved home upset and annoyed that I had been given no say in where we were moving or what was happening. I honestly, took the view that this was a temporary place to stay, one that wasn’t going to be a real home for me. This was a house for the other nine people and I was the one stray puppy who just needed a place to sleep.
So we moved into the house, I set up my room and was resigned to enduring a few months of feeling out of place.
However, a strange thing happened when the first Tuesday in our new house rolled around. Or, as it is now known in our house, Taco Tuesday. That day, I came home from work and was told we were having tacos for dinner. As a hungry 23 year old, I was primarily excited that there was food that I didn’t have to cook. That dinner was delicious, awesome tacos was an incredible bonus. We sat around the table, at some tasty tacos and talked about our day. It was kind of nice.
This kept going on every day. The next day was dubbed Wok Wednesday, cause we had rice, chicken and stir fry. Next up was Pasta Thursday, then Pizza Friday and one night we even had Shawarma Sunday.
Day after day, everyone who was home would sit down for dinner together and I realized it was nice having a big family to share a meal with. Back in the old house, we didn’t really have “family dinner” time except for Satuday nights when everyone came over. Otherwise, the routine had been get home, take leftovers out of the fridge, eat in your room by yourself.
I had missed the community of family dinner and didn’t even know it.
As I started to realize this, I became sad whenever I had to miss dinner time because of work or other plans. Especially on Taco Tuesday, which is still my favorite day.
As the weeks went by, I learned it is really nice to just walk into the kitchen and always have someone there to talk to and have community with. I didn’t need make special plans to have a conversation with someone who I love, respect and can help me out in a difficult situation because my family is always around, right there when I need them.
The idea of intentional community isn’t about finding your own space and living in it and never speaking to anyone. Intentional community is about stepping out of your room and actually living with those around you.
Now I won’t say living together is all puppy dogs and rainbows. I get frustrated with my family often. I sometimes want to yell at my family and sometimes I do yell at them, because we aren’t perfect people. But when I calm down, I can go and talk to them about what the problem was and we figure it out.
Now that I’ve actually lived it, this experience is something I’d be willing to do for the long term. To be clear, I don’t plan on living in this house forever. In fact, I left to go back to school in Toronto this past Sunday and I have no idea where life is going to lead me when I graduate next spring. But I am no longer finding my family to be crazy or weird for choosing to live in community, because when you live with people and share a meal together every night, they become more like family, even if they already were family.
In Acts 2 it says, “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” That is how I feel now, after living for two months in this house. Breaking bread, eating together and living together grows me personally and brings me closer with my family. It’s different, but it’s my life right now and I honestly wouldn’t change it.