We finally have a very awesome renter moving into one of our spare rooms. Our house has been empty for a long time – too long.
I love having people live with us, because our renters often become like family. We’ve had a teacher, a medical school applicant, and a pilot, among others. They share our space, and they share our lives.
The rental space is not a seperate apartment, or even a basement room or otherwise removed from the family. Our rental rooms are on the main floor, right in the midst of our lives. I can’t hide, and neither can they. We see each others’ bed head and grouchy pre-coffee moods.
Sometimes they hear Bryan and I bicker, or at least catch wind that all is not well. The teacher would ask me about it, and I would speak honestly. Eventually I would get to tell her how we resolved it – she had a front row seat to Marriage 101 for Single People.
The pilot lived with us during my postpartum plunge into depression after Thomas was born – he would often rock the baby in the car seat with his foot and quietly play the guitar while I gathered my wits.
The med school applicant lived with us right about the time I started working out my anger and control and rage issues (just read my posts from 2005 – 2006 for background on that!). She had her own issues. She got me, and we spent long hours late at night in deep conversation about woundedness and Christ’s restoration (and there may or may not have been cigarettes and cocktails involved).
Yet, despite the heaviness of these times, I remember having so much fun with these people. And despite the exciting things they were moving on to, they were sad to leave us.
In conversation I’ve had people, including some family members, cringe at the idea of having someone “in their space.” I get it. It’s not for everyone. But in this age of “building community,” and in this culture of “the Seattle Nice,” I wonder how many of us put our money where our mouth is, so to speak?
I’m not here to judge, but challenge. Consider these lyrics:
By law all are wounded
That you may know
You may know one another
(Woven Hand, “Cohawken Road”)
I am wounded, but so are you. So why should I hide my wounds? Why not embrace my own and mourn with you in yours? Our circumstances may differ, but we have more in common than you think: fear, anxiety, frustration, selfishness, and the like. And when we know each other, the joys we share in life are so much richer, knowing the struggles we have behind them.
This open woundedness is how I embrace writing, and blogging, and friendship, and community – that we may know one another. Share and listen. Pour out and encourage. Need and provide.
This is also how I treat my physical space – it is not mine to keep all to myself, but it’s been given to me for sharing. And I find when I share my space – and my wounds, and my heart – I am nourished by joy through famine into laughter.