A Sense of Community

Since coming to The Sycamore House, I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to watch the clock more than I ought to. I catch my eyes checking the time frequently. And I realized that living in this way is actually more exhausting than living in the moment. As a result, I miss the blessings of what’s in front of me. To counteract this, I’ve been working at living in each moment as it comes, which means striving to notice the different ways community shows up in my day-to-day interactions. My hope has been to experience it with all five of my senses and let it wash over me. I’d like share some of those here:

Sound – I hear community in the uproarious laughter that draws me from my room at all hours of the day. I hear it in the testimony of each beautiful woman I’m lucky to live with. I hear it in Bea’s ethereal music and how that’s helped weave our house into the Harrisburg community in unanticipated ways. I hear it in the basement shows and the concerts at Little Amps. I hear community in the many jokes we’ve already formed with one another. I hear it in Claire’s puns and her knack for finding a story for every situation. I hear it in Sheana’s sass and the clink of her spoon as she stirs her tea every night. I hear it in our many conversations – from the mundane day-to-day chat to the deep conversations about life and the issues we encounter daily.

Smell – I smell community in the aroma of a recently occupied shower. I smell it in the crook of my housemates’ necks as they hug me. I smell it at the kitchen table as we take turns serving one another by cooking. There’s a vulnerability that comes with cooking for one another and joy that comes with eating something that has been made in love for you.

Taste – I taste community in the cups of coffee we drink as we slowly learn to share our souls with one another. I taste community in the many generous gifts we have received. Food seems more flavorful and more precious when given in love and received in community. I taste it in the dinners we host every Sunday and how that grows us closer to the church, the Harrisburg area, and each other. I taste it in the pizza we spent hours trying to find and in the pretzels at Broad Street Market.

Sight – I see community in the smiling faces of my six housemates – the genuine, love-filled smiles that come with openness and authenticity. I see it in the plethora of pictures we’ve already accumulated with one another and the vast array of memories that accompany them. I see it in the constantly flowing group chat that makes me laugh every time I look at my phone. I see it at the kitchen table and the sense of safety that piece of furniture has generated for me. I see it in Christa’s papermaking skills she has humbly shared with us, and her penchant for pranks. I see it in Emily’s passion for social issues and her gentle heart.

Feel – I feel community in the random back massages, scratches, and affectionate pats. I feel it in the cinnamon roll hugs and the spontaneous dog piles. I feel it under my pillow where I find that someone placed one of our mannequin’s hands. I feel it in the calm peace of Olivia’s soothing presence. I feel this community in the depth of my soul. I feel it in the gratitude that wells up as I contemplate the many blessing that come with living this way and with these women. I also feel the deep vulnerability that living in community requires, and it is both terrifying and liberating.

I’m still learning what community is and how to contribute to a better one. However, one thing I’ve found to be true is that community consists of a series of intricately woven moments that are easy to miss if you’re not careful.

-Kaitie

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