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203 || Learning About Community From My Parents’ Basement

Meanwhile, in my parents’ basement…”

I’ve been teased with this phrase frequently over the last two years since my college graduation, and I’m okay with that. Yes, I live in my parents’ basement. Yes, I have a job. No, I don’t play video games.

Five or ten years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed or even considered the possibility of living in my parents’ basement. No. I pictured, of course, the husband, the picket fence, maybe even a little one on the way. I didn’t picture my bedroom and office being the same space, a waning bank account, or basically anything about my current life.

But God plans on a different timeline than I dream on. And while I’m learning to let Him be in charge, I still dream. Most days it’s about having my own kitchen and making a home while the husband is at work. But then my dad yells down the stairs asking if I want some ice cream, and I am reminded the relationships I have here and now are more important than the ones I’m making up in my head, and not just for the ice cream.

Up Close and Personal

Living at home adds a new dimension to the idea of community. This whole doing-life-together trend in our church circles sounds so spiritual and somewhat romantic. We picture Pinterest-perfect small groups with close-knit friendships, happily lending cars or sharing meals and being raw with each other. Doesn’t it sound so Acts 2?

But we might be missing the organic community God gave us in the first place. Want to be raw with each other? Stay up late and then set a 6 a.m. alarm. Watch me spill coffee on myself on the way out the door and wait for the eruption. Make that noise with your lips while you’re eating one. More. Time.

When you hear “discipleship” you don’t think “dinner table.” But that’s what it is. When you hear “community” you don’t think “ten-hour family roadtrip!” But that’s what it is. You don’t associate iron-sharpening-iron with sibling-on-sibling combat. But it happens.

Why? Because God said so. He was doing community before it was cool. He walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden. He lived with Israel as a cloud and as fire. Even He in Himself is familial—Father, Son, Holy Spirit all in one. And so He created us for relationships—with Himself and with others—and He gave us families for that very reason. As we eat together, fight together, and weep together, we sharpen each other. We stretch. We grow. We become more Christlike because we bump into each other (literally, depending on the size of your hallways). We see ourselves in each other and push each other toward Christ.

So yeah, the up-close-and-personal of living at home might be messy. It might be annoying and frustrating and cause many get-me-outta-here moments, but there’s also the I-just-spewed-milk-out-my-nose hilarious moments, glances that say “We’re in this together,” and hugs that remind, “I love you no matter what.” I think that’s the kind of community God was picturing when He invented the family. Yeah, it’s annoying, but it’s also totally worth it.

So maybe “Meanwhile, in my parents’ basement…” isn’t so bad after all.

[Image via 55Laney69/Flickr]

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