A big part of the YAV program is intentional Christian community. Before I started I wasn’t quite sure what that would mean on a daily basis, but I was excited about living deliberately with other volunteers. In college my roommates and I, who met and grew incredibly close through campus ministry, decided to live together and share expenses, etc. That was such a wonderful experience, and one that I miss everyday, I knew I wanted community to be an important part of my service year.
I met all three of my now roommates the first day of YAV orientation– Audrey at the airport, Alex during some room assignment mix-up and confusion, and Kathleen at the evening program/service. I can’t believe we didn’t know each other just 5 months ago. Because our community is so intentional we have gotten to know each other quickly and gotten to know things about each other you wouldn’t expect for just roommates. We cook together (local food from scratch), eat two meals together most days (I am not a fan of early breakfast together, though, which isn’t a surprise), have devotions together, travel together, and generally spend more time together in our kitchen than any sane, normal people should.
We have been thrown into this crazy experience together and we have to rely on each other, the only other people who understand, to get through it. We come from different theological, geographic, and family backgrounds, and have very different interests. But we have bonded in our weirdness and have created our own community.
We have become a package deal– The YAVs– which means the 4 of us end up going places and doing things together most of the time (although we are intentional about spending time outside of the community and the program, which is just as vital.) This has made me realize how much time community takes. When we are trying to get out of the door, usually already late, someone has to go to bathroom, someone else forgot their phone, someone else can’t find their waterbottle, and the list goes on… We’re usually a chaotic mess and spend a good amount of time laughing at ourselves.
We also spend a lot (read a whole awful lot) of time discussing things when trying to make a decision. We are hyper aware of making sure everyone has a voice and can express their opinion, and no one wants to be offensive in any way or give up their opinion. This typically leads to us talking around something for a really long time, not really sure if we came to a conclusion, and forgetting what we were talking about in the first place.
Our community (like ourselves) is not perfect. But we attempt to forgive and have grace and mercy with each other (and fail a lot along the way), just like God forgives and gives us grace and mercy; so even when we’re a chaotic mess, running late, and tired of each other, it’s a beautiful thing.
Here we are being very New England-y and picking apples amid beautiful fall colors.