Our Sojourn to Sojourner’s

Last weekend the Abbey took a trip to visit the Church of the Sojourner’s in San Francisco. It was a good trip; even though their community is different than ours and there isn’t a whole lot that we can drag and drop from their practices (we do like to cheat off other communities after all…), it was refreshing to view their community. Why? Because they’ve been at it for over twenty years! There are times when, as a infant two year old community that is mostly out of touch with any other residential community, it starts to feel like we’re crazy to even try some of what we do.

Living together day in and day out is hard, though it’s gotten easier as we’ve settled on some different people, and recruiting is tough because people are either not interested or they’re not a good fit. Where do you even start looking for someone to be a part of this?

But seeing a community that has made it over two decades is inspiring. And spending a weekend with people who don’t look at us funny when we explain what we do together is refreshing and makes it feel like what we’re doing isn’t actually that crazy. For awhile, when we first started, it felt really cool and emergent to say how we’re so radical and different and the pioneers of a new way of life.

The problems with that are that not only are we not that new and radical, but it’s also not particularly sustainable to try to chase the next new radical thing for the sake of being “hip” and “new”.

So all of that to say, it was a good trip. Even with me getting lost in the Mission district at night. Because I am that awesome/directionally challenged.

And speaking of community, after our visit to Sojourner’s, which has a car co-op, I’d been mulling over the possibility of selling my car and pitching in for the insurance on our van. I don’t actually use my car that much any more; I ride the bus to school and one of my jobs, and only drive to my other job (which is about once a week), to run errands around town once a week or so, and to my one night class.

After a lot of stress about paying for my year of student teaching, I realized that cutting down my insurance payment (since I would still pay in some for our shared vehicle) alone would save me a ton, not to mention the money I got from selling my car.

It would mean a loss of some of my independence, having to cooperate schedule-wise with Josh, and no more weekend trips to visit family. And I’m okay with that. I mean, I wouldn’t go out and sell it right now – I already have some obligations to take care of – but I could see myself selling it at the end of the year and being okay with it.

And then I remembered the one major flaw with that plan: student teaching. I have just about no control over where my placement is, and while it might be in Paradise or Chico (not too difficult to ride the bus and/or walk to), some people end up with placements in Hamilton, Orland, or further out. Argh!

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On a completely separate note, my hard thing for this week didn’t quite go the way I planned. I was given Thursday off from my morning job, so I intended to buckle down and spend the day working. I made a huge list of all the things I need to take care of, including homework, chores, food prep for the week, crafty stuff, and errands.

And then a few things came up and I got off track. I decided to continue my workday after school on Friday, but again life happened and it didn’t go as I intended. Finally, I decided that my couple hour block between babysitting jobs on Saturday should be more homework time – and it kinda was, but still more distractions.

I got a good chunk of my homework and errands done, though my chores and crafty things didn’t work out as well. I felt fairly irritated that I couldn’t get more homework done – I admit, I had this vision of taking care of all my reading through Thanksgiving break so I wouldn’t even have to worry about it for awhile.

So – this week I’ve been working on realistic expectations, and not beating myself up about what I haven’t been able to do. It feels good to not feel guilty 🙂

Ouch, that hits right at the heart of it

Oh man. This week was tough for a couple of reasons.

For the week of not really being sure about my relationship with Alex, I let myself slip a lot on my reading for class. It’s not particularly unusual for me to be a bit sporadic with my reading, but I’m now pretty behind and midterms are starting next week. Eeek!

After five years of not having to think a whole lot about my friendships with guys, this week I ended up in a rather uncomfortable situation that stressed me out for a day or two. With a little bit of time to get my thoughts together, I worked up my willpower and faced it head on, which takes a lot of effort with my people-pleaser and conflict avoidance tendencies.

And then there was last night. I’d set a challenge a few weeks ago to go visit both Campus Crusade and Chico Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, but with all of the other stuff going on I’d put it off. I had a couple of reasons for deciding to go; partially it was to get a little practice being at peace with my roots so that this year I can sit through my family’s Christmas service without cringing the whole time, scoping out the recruiting possibilities for the Abbey, and taking a fresh look at what I left. I realize that I’ve reactively swung to the other end of the spectrum and may have tossed out good and useful practices and ideas because of their associations with evangelicals.

I ended up going only to Intervarsity, and Joshua came as well. It was not particularly pleasant for me. On one hand, particularly the music brought back memories of emotional worship and mission trips and all of those big moments that I had as an evangelical, but I realized that it no longer triggered those responses in me and instead felt soppy and boring.

There’s also the fact that I was hugely judgmental throughout the whole thing. Which is horrible! This is when I was really thankful that someone else was there to remind me that, while it wasn’t particularly good, it wasn’t that bad. I tried really hard to remind myself that if that works for someone then they should continue doing that, and I certainly don’t have all the answers.

I spent a lot of this morning trying to figure out why my reaction was so extreme, and I think I have at least a piece of it. You know the saying that what we dislike most in others is what we see in ourselves? Yipes. A huge chunk of my insecurities in my place in the Abbey and our surrounding groups – as the youngest, least experienced, least well-read and educated, least articulate, most prone to over-emotion, etc – popped out at me in the crowd of college kids. Being judgmental is a quick and easy way to elevate myself and make myself feel better that I’m “not as bad as them.”

And then Joshua had to go and remind me that I was just like that two years ago.

And again

For the first time in almost five years, I am single.

In fact, I’ve been single for a whole 36 hours.

It’s strange; it’s like right after a birthday, when things are different but also not really.

While it’s a clean, healthy break, and I don’t feel anger or bitterness, that means all that’s left is just the sadness. We’ve decided we’d like to still be friends, though I think I’ll need awhile before I see him – I need that definitive closure, the point where one thing ends and another begins.

There’s not a whole lot left to discuss, essentially everything we needed to get out we talked to each other about. Ironically, our most open and honest conversation was the one where we broke up. So that just leaves the hard part: moving on. To be fair, there is the possibility that we may try again at some point, but that would be some time off and, as I mentioned above about closure, for the sake of my emotional health I really have to assume that this is it.

I find myself annoyed that I’m not quite able to do all of the things I would normally do, as if it’s a sign of weakness to move things in my life around at all. Which I know is ridiculous, but I’m not sure where that comes from.

So for now, even though people have told me to stay busy busy busy, I’m trying to keep it all in balance. For instance, yesterday I had to work at both of my jobs, so from the time I woke up to the time I finished my second shift, I did my best to stay busy and not have a whole lot of time to think. But afterward, I let everything be quiet, and allowed myself some time alone. It would really be a shame to, after such a healthy ending, end up with baggage because I never let myself deal with the whole thing.

That is my hard thing for this week: coping with emotional loss, balancing busy-ness with quiet, and thinking about who and what I am apart from a long-term relationship.

I’m as thankful as ever for my support network of family and friends and everything in between, for the kind and wise words that’ve been offered and the knowledge that I have plenty of people around me who care about me.

So in summary: thanks. And I’ll be okay. 🙂

So, well, um…

So. I totally had a challenging thing to do this week, but life got in the way.

With a totally different hard and stretching thing. Go figure!

Alex and I are working through some things that probably should’ve been worked through awhile ago, and I’ve been kind of off all week as a result. I’m more optimistic about the outcome of this conversation than I was at the beginning, but we’ll see.

I’ve had a headache off and on for the last few days and am very, very tired. Homework and chores and all that are piling up, and yet somehow instead of getting up and taking care of it, the borrowed Firefly DVDs have somehow made their way to my computer.

I’m such a slacker sometimes.

Eh…okay, a lot of the time.

I’m looking forward to having Monday off, an extra day to catch up.

Two steps forward, one step back, and maybe at some point school won’t engulf my entire life – I might even get there right before I graduate 🙂